UFC Fight Night Prelims: Split Decision Sends Jason Saggo Past Leandro Silva

By Brian Knapp Jun 18, 2016
Canadian lightweight Jason Saggo recorded his seventh win in eight outings, as he eked out a split decision over Leandro Silva at UFC Fight Night “MacDonald vs. Thompson” on Saturday at the TD Place Arena in Ottawa, Ontario. Scores were 29-28 for Silva, 29-28 and 29-28 for Saggo.

Saggo (12-2, 3-1 UFC) controlled much of the first round, as he tripped the American Top Team-trained Brazilian to the mat and applied his ground-and-pound from half guard. Silva (19-4, 3-2 UFC) shifted the momentum in round two, where he kept the fight standing, hammered away with punches and kicks and then struck for a late takedown.

The bout appeared to be won and lost in the third round. There, Saggo upped his aggression on the feet with straight punching combinations before yielding a late takedown to “Buscape.” Silva attacked with punches and hammerfists in the closing moments but failed to do enough damage to alter the result.

Related » UFC Fight Night “MacDonald vs. Thompson” Round-by-Round Scoring

Cirkunov Arm-Triangle Taps Cutelaba

Misha Cirkunov continued his climb on the light heavyweight ladder, as he submitted Cage Warriors Fighting Championship alum Ion Cutelaba with a third-round arm-triangle choke in an undercard encounter at 205 pounds. Cutelaba (11-2, 0-1 UFC) tapped 1:22 into round three.

The two light heavyweights broke out the heavy artillery in a back-and-forth first round, but the muscular Cutelaba could not keep pace with the Latvian brute. Cirkunov (12-2, 3-0 UFC) broke down the newcomer with crushing left hands, effective counters and occasional kicks to the body and legs. In the third round, the 29-year-old executed a double-leg takedown behind a Superman punch, moved to an advantageous position and secured the choke.

Cirkunov has won seven fights in a row.

Surging Jotko KOs McCrory

Krzysztof Jotko knocked out Tamdan McCrory in the first round of their preliminary middleweight duel and did so in violent fashion. McCrory (14-4, 4-4 UFC), who had never before been stopped by strikes, met his end just 59 seconds into round one.

Jotko (18-1, 5-1 UFC) connected with an overhand left inside the first minute, folding “The Barn Cat” where he stood and leaving him defenseless to what followed. The two hammerfists that fell next knocked McCrory unconscious.

The 26-year-old Jotko has rattled off four straight wins.

Soto Choke Submits Beal

Former Bellator MMA champion Joe Soto submitted Chris Beal with a third-round rear-naked choke in an undercard scrap at 135 pounds. A replacement for the oft-injured Norifumi Yamamoto, Soto (16-5, 1-3 UFC) brought it to a close 3:39 into round three.

Beal (10-3, 2-3 UFC) made the Californian look average through five minutes, as he fired off crackling punching combinations behind a stiff jab. Soto was not dissuaded. He pressured Beal relentlessly in the second round, had him on wobbly legs more than once and eventually scrambled to his back. Soto walked through Beal’s punches in round three, swooped in on a double-leg and completed the takedown from behind. He then set a body triangle and advanced to full mount, forcing Beal to surrender his back. Soon after, the choke was in place.

The victory put an end to Soto’s three-fight losing streak.

Theodorou Outpoints Inactive Alvey

Elias Theodorou stayed at a safe distance and relied on a steady stream of kicks in capturing a unanimous decision from onetime Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Sam Alvey in a preliminary middleweight affair. All three cageside judges saw it for Theodorou (12-1, 4-1 UFC): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.

Alvey (26-8, 3-3 UFC) never got going, his patience proving to be a detriment. Theodorou circled on the perimeter, far outside of the Team Quest representative’s preferred range. Frustration grew for Alvey, as the Canadian piled up points with kicks to the body and arms. Very few of his strikes founded their intended mark, allowing Theodorou to cruise and failing to force him out of his comfort zone.

Markos Keeps Jones-Lybarger Winless in Octagon

High-output power punching and some superb clinch work carried Randa Markos to a unanimous verdict over former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger in their three-round undercard battle at 115 pounds. Markos (6-3, 2-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges.

Jones-Lybarger (6-3, 0-2 UFC) had her moments -- it was not a rout -- but could not match her counterpart’s firepower on the feet. She picked up her pace in the second and third rounds, but Markos often answered one of her punches with two or three of her own.

The 30-year-old Jones-Lybarger has lost back-to-back bouts for the first time in her career.

Covington Chokes Newcomer Meunier

American Top Team’s Colby Covington submitted Jonathan Meunier with a third-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary welterweight pairing. A replacement for the injured Alex Garcia, Meunier (7-1, 0-1 UFC) conceded defeat 4:06 into round three.

Covington (9-1, 4-1 UFC) grinded down the Tristar Gym export for the better part of two rounds, as he utilized takedowns and ground-and-pound while avoiding the occasional submission from the previously unbeaten Canadian. The 28-year-old caught Meunier with a spinning backfist late in the third round, moved to the back after the knockdown and cinched the choke.

Bagautinov Bests Herrera, Halts Skid

Two-time combat sambo world champion Ali Bagautinov posted his first win in more than two years, as he took a unanimous decision from Geane Herrera in a three-round undercard tilt at 125 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Bagautinov (14-4, 4-2 UFC).

Herrera (9-2, 1-2 UFC) struggled to find an offensive rhythm. Bagautinov blasted him with crisp punching combinations and kicks to the body and legs, establishing his superiority in the standup department. However, the 31-year-old Fight Nights Team rep did his best work on the ground, as he secured takedowns in all three rounds and let loose with his ground-and-pound. Herrera responded with a few attempted submissions, including a reverse triangle choke in the second round and a tight kimura in the third, but none produced the finish he needed.

The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for Bagautinov, who had not won since beating John Lineker at UFC 169 in February 2014.


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