Nina Ansaroff waded through an early storm of punches and a few powerful takedowns from Claudia Gadelha to prevail over three rounds in the featured UFC 231 preliminary bout.
Ansaroff controlled much of the pivotal strawweight encounter with a superb jab and sneaky low kicks to befuddle the Brazilian throughout. Gadalha (16-4) was rocked in the first by a glancing head kick, but aside from hat, “The Strina” was content to pick her opponent apart from the outside. In the end, all three cage side judges saw the fight in favor of Ansaroff (10-5) with tallies of 29-28.
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Burns Decisions OAM
Coming into enemy territory isn’t always easy, but Gilbert Burns made it seem like it. “Durinho” largely dominated Canadian contender Olivier Aubin-Mercier for three rounds, rocking him with punches to the head and treating with submissions on the ground. “The Quebec Kid” withstood it all, but Burns (14-3) was better in nearly every facet of the lightweight bout.
In the end, two judges favored the Brazilian 30-27 while a third had it 29-28, giving Burns a unanimous decision win. Aubin-Mercier fell to 11-4.
Eye Earns Split Decision
Jessica Eye came into her flyweight bout with Katlyn Chookagian a slight underdog but she prevailed over three rounds in what was a nip-and-tuck battle.
The two traded sporadic kicks and punches for 15 minutes, with neither woman nabbing the upper hand. Eye (14-6) was the aggressor, though, and that essentially paved the way for her win. Two judges favored “Evil” 29-28 while the third had the same tally for Chookagian (11-2).
Theodorou Edges Anders
Though it may not have been pretty, middleweight contender Elias Theodorou did just enough to squeak past Eryk Anders via split decision. “The Spartan” used his excellent movement and awkward striking to befuddle the former Alabama footballer for much of the fight. “Ya Boy” badly rocked Theodorou (16-2) in the second with clubbing left hands, but he couldn’t put the charismatic Canadian away.
Theodorou resumed control in third and chipped away at Anders (11-3) from the outside. In the end, two judges favored Theodorou 29-28, while the third had the same score for Anders.
Katona Nearly Finishes Lopez
Local prospect Brad Katona looked terrific in taking down Matthew Lopez for three rounds and he appeared to have scored a technical submission, but he had to settle for a decision win.
“Superman” used excellent footwork to pick Lopez (10-4) apart on the feet, but the bantamweight showdown turned controversial in the closing seconds of the third. Katona (8-0) scored a takedown and quickly wrapped up his foe in an unorthodox rear-naked choke, and just as time expired, Lopez appeared to go to sleep. However, referee Brian Beauchamp ruled that time expired so Katona was awarded the unanimous verdict via tallies of 29-28 (twice) and 30-27.
Lima Ends Laprise’s Night with One Punch
A loser no more is Dhiego Lima. The Brazilian had dropped three consecutive bouts coming into Saturday’s matchup with Canadian Chad Laprise, but all it took was one punch to change his fortunes.
Laprise (13-4) was aggressive from the start as he chased Lima (13-7) around the Octagon, but his pressure cost him. Just as “The Disciple” charged in with a flurry of punches, Lima detonated a massive left hook square on his jaw. Laprise was out cold on impact and fell flat onto his back, his heading bouncing off the canvas. The sensational knockout came just 97 seconds into the welterweight contest.
Ferreira Handles Nelson
Lightweight contender Carlos Diego Ferreira was far too much for UFC newcomer Kyle Nelson to handle in the second bout of the afternoon.
The Brazilian scored an easy takedown in the first frame and pummeled Nelson with punches and elbows. Nelson (12-2) was able to survive the onslaught, but a virtual carbon copy of the beating he absorbed in the first round occurred in the second. Ferreira (14-2) quickly took “The Monster” down again and pounded on him until referee Ivan Svec had no choice but to intervene, ending the mugging at the 1:23 mark.
Rakic Shows Resolve in Conquest of Clark
Aleksandar Rakic nearly didn’t survive the first minute of the fight, but the Austrian showed his resolve and then some. Devin Clark dropped Rakic with a powerful overhand right to the head over a kick to the body and nearly took him out.
Rakic (11-1) was dropped a while later in the frame from a similar punch and when he dropped to his knees and planted a hand on the canvas, his opponent pummeled him with several illegal knees that went unnoticed by referee referee Brian Beauchamp. The Austrian somehow survived the barrage and struggled to his feet. With “Brown Bear” charging in with another lethal overhand right, Rakic unfurled right backfist and dropped Clark (9-3). From there, Rakic unloaded a tidal wave of punches from behind until Beauchamp halted the light heavyweight fight. The end came officially at the 4:05 mark of the first.