Originally published at UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington, Holloway vs. Volkanovski
Welcome to our coverage of UFC 245 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and led by three championship fights on the main card.
Our UFC 245 POST Show will be available free late tonight with Phil Chertok and I breaking down the entire show.
Jon Anik is calling the show with Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier.
*Punahele Soriano def. Oskar Piechota by KO at 3:17 of Round 1
*Jessica Eye def. Viviane Araujo by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Brandon Moreno def. Kai Kara-France by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Chase Hooper def. Daniel Teymur by TKO at 4:34 of Round 1
*Matt Brown def. Ben Saunders by TKO at 4:55 of Round 2
*Omari Akhmedov def. Ian Heinisch by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Irene Aldana def. Ketlen Vieira by KO at 4:51 of Round 1
*Geoff Neal def. Mike Perry by TKO at 1:30 of Round 1
*Petr Yan def. Urijah Faber by KO at 0:43 of Round 3
*Marlon Moraes def. Jose Aldo by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Amanda Nunes def. Germaine de Randamie by unanimous decision (49-44, 49-46, 49-45) to retain the UFC bantamweight title
*Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway to become the new UFC featherweight champion (48-47, 48-47, 50-45)
*Kamaru Usman def. Colby Covington by TKO at 4:10 of Round 5 to retain the UFC welterweight title
PUNAHELE SORIANO (6-0) VS OSKAR PIECHOTA (11-2-1) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Soriano is undefeated and fought on Dana White’s Contender Series this past June and won by decision after five opening round stoppages. His power was on display as he dropped Piechota and jumped on top with hammer fists. Piechota escaped danger after losing his back temporarily. They returned to the feet and Piechota landed several lefts before a brutal left hook dropped Piechota for the finish.
WINNER: Punahele Soriano by knockout at 3:17 of Round 1
He is a prospect to watch and displayed great power in the short time this fight lasted.
JESSICA EYE (14-7, 131*) VS VIVIANE ARAUJO (8-1, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
I scored the fight for Eye 29-28 and all three judges scored it the same.
Eye missed weight by five pounds and was fined 30%. Eye said she miscalculated something and was trying new things when she apologized for miss weight.
Araujo won the first round being quicker, scoring with the takedown but Eye came alive in the final round with her strikes.
Eye adjusted in the second, she worked on her low leg kicks and piled them up. She also landed a nice knee to the body.
The third round was Eye’s round as she attacked the left leg and connected with a knee to the body to close out the fight.
WINNER: Jessica Eye by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was Eye’s first fight since the devastating loss to Valentina Shevchenko in June at UFC 239. Eye is training in Las Vegas at Xtreme Couture and cited a back injury that affected her preparation for the title fight with Shevchenko. Since returning to flyweight, Eye has gone 4-1 including this latest victory.
BRANDON MORENO (15-5-1, 125.5) VS KAI KARA-FRANCE (20-7, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Both came out of the gate with a plan to strike. Moreno was quick and relied on his jab. The key was France’s right hand that landed solidly in two instances as he rocked Moreno. France took the first round 10-9.
Moreno came back big in the second round. He was precise with his strikes to the body and increased his volume of body shots and head strike attempts. Due to his jabs, France’s nose was bloodied. It was even after two rounds.
The third was close statistically but Moreno was the aggressor and put on the pressure in the final 90 seconds, tagging him numerous times. This was a great fight and I had it 29-28 for Moreno.
WINNER: Brandon Moreno by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Moreno returned to the UFC this past September and fought Askar Askarov to a split draw. He showed a lot of intelligence in this fight and adjusted well after the first round with good conditioning and focused on the body of France.
He improves to 16-5-1.
CHASE HOOPER (8-0-1, 144.5) VS DANIEL TEYMUR (7-3, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Hooper is only 20-years old and was remarkably composed after early adversity. Teymur went for a choke and Hooper kicked off the fence and escaped. Teymur landed a big right hand and Hooper recovered, going to the back and taking Teymur down.
Hooper applied a deep choke that Teymur outlasted but was mounted. Hooper attacked with strikes, applied a mounted triangle and delivered shots until it was stopped.
WINNER: Chase Hooper by TKO at 4:34 of Round 1
Hooper is an intriguing prospect. He never seemed overwhelmed by the stage or early adversity. He is very long and used that to his advantage and create submission opportunities to set up his strikes.
MATT BROWN (21-16, 171) VS BEN SAUNDERS (22-12-2, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
In the first round, Saunders won the round through the work off his back. He quickly went for a triangle and controlled Brown from that position. Brown held his arms and didn’t allow Saunders to do much during the latter portion of the round.
Brown came out swinging and landing big strikes in the second round. He worked in Saunders’ guard and was winning the round. Back to their feet, Brown rocked with him with a left hand as Saunders went down on his back. Brown cracked him with a right elbow and finished on top with strikes.
WINNER: Matt Brown by TKO at 4:55 of Round 2
This was Brown’s comeback after retiring following his win over Diego Sanchez in November 2017. Brown improves to 22-16 and was his 15th win in the UFC.
OMARI AKHMEDOV (19-4-1, 185.5) VS IAN HEINISCH (13-2, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
The first round wasn’t very eventful. Akhmedov landed a pair of strikes and kept away from Heinisch’s range. Akhmedov slammed him to the canvas for a brief period and they ended the round standing. Akhmedov is up 10-9.
In the second round, Akhmedov and Heinisch had an exchange with each connecting. Akhmedov landed an overhand right and was the dominant fighter in the round. Heinisch got a late takedown. 20-18 for Akhmedov.
The third round saw Heinisch have his best round. He threw a high kick and caught Akhmedov with the knee. Akhmedov came back with a left hook that stunned him. Heinisch got a takedown, landed some short shots and briefly had his back. Akhmedov landed another left hook near the end. 29-28 for Akhmedov.
WINNER: Omari Akhmedov by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This wasn’t too great of a fight. Akhmedov has not lost since April 2016 and was his third win of the year after decisions over Tim Boetsch and Zak Cummings this year.
KETLEN VIEIRA (10-0, 136) VS IRENE ALDANA (11-5, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
This featured a vicious knockout by Aldana at the end of the first round.
Each had their moments with their right hands during the round. They were standing and Aldana threw a brutal left hook that dropped Aldana. She was out and absorbed two follow up right hands from Aldana.
This was a devastating knockout.
WINNER: Irene Aldana by KO at 4:51 of Round 1
Vieira had been highly ranked, although had not fought since March 2018. Aldana has now won five of her last six with this her fourth fight of 2019.
GEOFF NEAL (12-2, 170) VS MIKE PERRY (13-5, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
Neal had another spectacular outing, stopping Perry in 90 seconds.
Neal connected threw a head kick and the shin stunned Perry. He capitalized sending Perry against the fence and dropping him with a vicious left hand. He swarmed Perry until the referee stepped in.
WINNER: Geoff Neal by TKO at 1:30 of Round 1
Neal is 5-0 in the UFC since coming off Dana White’s Contender Series in 2017. He said he is two or three fights away from a title fight.
This is the first time Perry has ever been stopped.
Daniel Cormier petitioned for Neal to fight Santiago Ponzinibbio.
PETR YAN (13-1, 135.5) VS URIJAH FABER (35-10, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
The first round was a feeling out process for Yan. Faber landed a step-in knee and was his best shot of the round. Yan was patient and drilled Faber with a right, he connected to the body with a kick and won the round.
Yan exploded in the second round, dropping Faber and then attacking from behind. Faber got up and ate an elbow that blew up Faber’s face with a massive hematoma. They checked on the cut and allowed him to continue. It was a big round for Yan, and I saw it 10-8.
Early in the third round, they separated off the clinch and Yan knocked him with a head kick, and it was over.
WINNER: Petr Yan by KO at 0:43 of Round 3
Yan looked outstanding and it was the fight everyone foresaw when the fight was booked. Faber was very tough, but this was a questionable fight to book him in for maximum value at age 40.
Yan improves to 14-1 and 6-0 in the UFC and will skyrocket him within the bantamweight division that is going in circles until Henry Cejudo returns. Yan challenged Cejudo and called him ‘triple clown’.
MARLON MORAES (22-6-1, 135.5) VS JOSE ALDO (28-5, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
In the first round, Moraes came out of the gate connecting with a switch kick and establishing a frenetic pace. Moraes threw leg kicks but it was Aldo pressuring, although tentative with strikes. In the final minute, Aldo landed several big right hands, Moraes responded and then, took Aldo down. Moraes ahead 10-9.
Aldo had a great second round where he attacked the body early. He landed a big combination of strikes while Moraes connected with a clear right hand. Aldo pressured Moraes and was looking very comfortable behind his jab and evened the fight on my card.
The third round was an interesting round because Aldo controlled the center, but I felt Moraes landed the better strikes from the outside. He came at Aldo with several jabs and then connected with some notable shots in the final minute.
WINNER: Marlon Moraes by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
It was a super-close fight, but I didn’t disagree with the decision. This fight still rejuvenated Aldo at bantamweight and he greatly exceeded my expectations for him cutting down in weight.
AMANDA NUNES (18-4, 134.5) VS GERMAINE DE RANDAMIE (9-3, 134.5) – UFC BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE
Nunes dominated Round 1 and it was a 10-8. Nunes immediately hit an overhand right, was aggressive on top and applied a guillotine that de Randamie survived. Nunes continues with ground and pound, went knee on belly and then applied an arm triangle that de Randamie also broke out of. It was dominant for the entire five minutes.
In the second, de Randamie’s striking came alive with a big head kick and flying knee allowing de Randamie to attack with knees in the clinch against the fence. Nunes ended the round on top but it was 10-9 for de Randamie.
In Round 3, Nunes relied on her superior wrestling and held her down while dropping elbows. De Randamie hit an up kick that nailed Nunes flush, but it wasn’t enough. 10-9 Nunes.
Nunes started the fourth round with another takedown and was comfortable on top landing elbows. De Randamie went for a triangle and nearly got it but Nunes was safe. Nunes was back on top for the rest of the round and another 10-9 for Nunes.
The fifth round was wash, rinse, repeat with Nunes taking her down and working in her guard for most of the round.
I have it 49-45 for Nunes.
WINNER: Amanda Nunes by unanimous decision (49-44, 49-46, 49-45) to retain the UFC bantamweight title
This was Nunes’ tenth consecutive win and is 12-1 in the UFC.
After the fight, Nunes sent her wishes to Walt Harris after the recent death of his stepdaughter, Aniah Blanchard.
MAX HOLLOWAY (21-4, 145) VS ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI (20-1, 144.5) – UFC FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE
Volkanovski was the aggressor in the first round with an output of low kicks to the calves while throwing power shots. Holloway would slide and angle but was still susceptible to strikes. 10-9 for Volkanovski.
The second round saw Holloway’s lead left leg get brutalized with kicks. The champion had to switch stances and Volkanovski moved to the right leg as a target. Holloway had a brief flurry near the end, but it was Volkanovski up 20-18 after two.
Volkanovski won the third round with the same game plan. He stunned Holloway with a left hand and shut down his offense. Volkanovski continued with tons of leg kicks as Holloway started to get wild with his strikes without success.
Holloway had his best round in the fourth and wasn’t as reckless as the end of the third round. He landed an uppercut on Volkanovski and went to the body as he attempted to offset the leg kicks. It was close but I went 10-9 Holloway.
The fifth round was another good round for Holloway including a great body kick. Volkanovski slowed down and wasn’t attacking the legs at the same level as the first three rounds.
I had it 48-47 for Volkanovski after five rounds.
WINNER: Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway to become the new UFC featherweight champion (48-47, 48-47, 50-45)
KAMARU USMAN (15-1, 170) VS COLBY COVINGTON (15-1, 170) – UFC WELTERWEIGHT TITLE
There was no attempt for either to wrestle as they stood and traded from the get-go.
In the first round, Usman is landing with right hands before Covington responds and lands big power shots and throws a flying knee. Usman is trying to go for the body but it turns into Covington’s round.
Covington and Usman were having a war by the second round. Covington stunned him with a right hand and followed with a left. They each jabbed the hell out of the other and then Covington rocked him with a right as Usman tried to go for the body. 20-18 Covington.
Usman won the third round by attacking the body using front kicks and his left hands piling up.
In the fourth round, Covington told his corner between rounds he had a broken jaw. He still swung hard with big shots landing although Usman’s volume was too much to win the round.
I have it even going into the fifth round.
In the fifth, Usman started landing and dropped Covington twice. On the second knockdown, he attacked with hammer fists and stopped him.
This was one of the best fights this year.
WINNER: Kamaru Usman by TKO at 4:10 of Round 5