UFC 248 REPORT: Adesanya retains, Zhang-Joanna have all-time great fight

Originally published at UFC 248 COVERAGE: Adesanya vs. Romero, Weili vs. Jedrzejczyk

Welcome to our coverage of UFC 248 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas featuring two championship fights as Israel Adesanya takes on Yoel Romero and Zhang Weili faces Joanna Jedrzejczuk.

Tune into our UFC 248 POST Show later tonight as Phil Chertok and I will review the entire card.

Earlier in the day, Emily Whitmire was removed from the card after missing weight by 1.5 pounds on Friday for her strawweight fight with Polyana Viana. The UFC issued a statement citing ‘medical issues’ as the reason for her withdrawal.

RESULTS:
*Danna Batgerel def. Guido Cannetti by knockout at 3:01 of Round 1
*Giga Chikadze def. Jamall Emmers by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Gerald Meerschaert def. Deron Winn by rear-naked choke at 2:13 of Round 3
*Rodolfo Vieira def. Saparbek Safarov by arm-triangle at 2:58 of Round 1
*Mark O. Madsen def. Austin Hubbard by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Sean O’Malley def. Jose Quinones by TKO at 2:02 of Round 1
*Alex Oliveira def. Max Griffin by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Neil Magny def. Jingliang Li by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Beneil Darisuh def. Drakkar Klose by knockout at 1:00 of Round 2
*Zhang Weili def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) to retain the UFC strawweight title
*Israel Adesanya def. Yoel Romero by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) to retain the UFC middleweight title

DANAA BATGEREL (6-2, 136) VS GUIDO CANNETTI (8-4, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT

The two were feeling each other out on the feet as Batgerel was timing his right hand. Cannetti responded with some counters before Batgerel drilled him with a left hook that dropped Cannetti and he was stopped with strikes.

WINNER: Danaa Batgerel by KO at 3:01 of Round 1

Batgerel scored an impressive knockout with the left hand as opposed to the right he had been utilizing. Batgerel trains with Jackson-Wink and has been a pro since 2011. He made his UFC debut last August where he dropped a unanimous decision to Heili Alateng.

JAMALL EMMERS (17-4, 145.5) VS GIGA CHIKADZE (12-0, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT

The commentators had this fight much closer than I did going into the third round. Everyone agreed Chikadze won the first round cracking Emmers with a right-hand counter. In the second round, Emmers secured a takedown but was reversed and struck on the bottom to negate the takedown. Chikadze wobbled Emmers with a left hand and I had it 20-18 after two rounds. On my card, Emmers won the third round by chipping away with his jab and taking Chikadze down and landing strikes on top to end the fight.

WINNER: Giga Chikadze by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

I thought it was a fairly clear 29-28 fight for Chikadze, so the right guy won. He is now 2-0 in the UFC and has won four in a row.

GERALD MEERSCHAERT (30-12, 185) VS DERON WINN (6-1, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

They looked like fighters from two different weight classes with Meerschaert towering over Winn, even though Winn missed weight for his last fight against Darren Stewart.

The first round was very competitive and a hard one to score. Meerschaert landed a low inside leg kick at the start of the fight. Winn continued and executed a foot sweep, although allowed Meerschaert back up. Winn hit a knee to the body and an uppercut while Meerschaert hit a big left hand. Winn had a big combination before the round ended. It seemed Meerschaert landed more strikes, but I thought Winn had the more effective shots but could be either one’s round.

Meerschaert had a strong round in the second attacking at distance and greatly out striking Winn. Toward the end, he stalked Winn by kicking the body and mixing up his strikes. I have it 19-19 after two.

Winn blasted him with a right hand in the third round but Meerschaert recovered and tagged Winn with a shot that rocked him. Meerschaert attacked with several follow-ups and then took Winn down, got to his back and secured the rear-naked choke for the tap.

WINNER: Gerald Meerschaert by rear-naked choke at 2:13 of Round 3

This was an entertaining fight and was close going into the final round. Meerschaert had lost three of his last four and was coming off a split decision loss to Eryk Anders last October. Winn is small for the weight class and it wasn’t that long ago he was competing at light heavyweight. He had trouble making the weight in his last fight, so it isn’t like moving to welterweight is an easy decision to make. There was some interesting analysis throughout the fight from Winn’s training partner Daniel Cormier.

SAPARBEK SAFAROV (9-2, 186) VS RODOLFO VIEIRA (6-0, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Safarov landed a front kick to the face of busted Vieria open, although that was the beginning of the end as it led to Vieria taking him down off the cage. Vieria got his hooks in and just played with Safarov and worked to the mount position before transitioning to an arm-triangle for the submission.

WINNER: Rodolfo Vieira by arm-triangle choke at 2:58 of Round 1

Vieira is one of the most decorated grapplers to ever compete in the UFC and improves his UFC record to 2-0 and overall pro record to 7-0. Vieira was caught with a great front kick and it did a lot of damage by shutting his left eye. On the ground, it was akin to watching a snake wrap around its prey and suck the life out of it.

AUSTIN HUBBARD (11-3, 154.5) VS MARK O. MADSEN (9-0, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT

Madsen returns after winning his UFC debut last September over Danilo Belluardo. He is an Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Madsen put his wrestling on display throughout the first round beginning with a belly-to-back suplex launching Hubbard in the air. Later, he used a body lock to force Hubbard to the ground and moved to side control. Madsen attempted a neck crank and was not successful. It was a clear-cut round for Madsen.

The second round was more of the same with Madsen scoring a pair of takedowns and controlling most of it with little resistance. The round ended with the two standing and Hubbard trying to fire off leg kicks. Madsen is ahead 20-18.

The third round was super-entertaining as Hubbard came alive and just went for broke. He had tremendous success rocking Madsen with a knee to the face and Madsen was susceptible to that knee several times. Madsen clinched and took Hubbard down but he got back up and finished with a strong final sixty seconds. It was not enough for a 10-8 round, so I had Madsen winning 29-28.

WINNER: Mark O. Madsen by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

This was a tough test for Madsen, and it showed a lot of holes for future strikers to exploit from Madsen especially late in the fight where Hubbard had his greatest success. Madsen’s wrestling is excellent and it’s going to be tough for many lightweights to deal with but for anyone that can withstand the takedowns and force a striking battle, it will open the fight a lot more. The big negative for Madsen is that he is already 35 years old and it’s late to try and make a big run in such a loaded weight class.

SEAN O’MALLEY (10-0, 135.5) VS JOSE QUINONES (8-3, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT

This is O’Malley’s first fight in two years after having numerous setbacks from USADA after they detected Ostarine in his system and several setbacks as a result of that case. He has kept busy with his grappling as he participated in several Quintet events grappling Takanori Gomi, Hector Lombard, and Gilbert Melendez.

These two were set to fight in October 2018 when O’Malley’s negative test took him out of the fight.

O’Malley was so fluid with his footwork, shifting between stances and dropped Quinones early with a front kick. O’Malley peppered Quinones with strikes and then Quinones entered and got tossed against the fence, was hit with a head kick and an uppercut that stunned him and was finished with hammer fists. Outstanding, albeit quick, performance from O’Malley

WINNER: Sean O’Malley by TKO at 2:02 of Round 1

After a two-year layoff, O’Malley improves to 11-0 and granted it was only a two-minute fight, but he looked so great in this fight and his footwork and speed were aspects of his game that stood out in a big way. It is his third victory in the UFC while Quinones had won five of his last six fights going into this one.

MAX GRIFFIN (15-7, 170.5) VS ALEX OLIVEIRA (20-8-1, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT

In the first round, Griffin pushed the pace but Oliveira settled in at distance using a front kick to the body mixed with jabs. Griffin stunned him with a short right hand and took Oliveira down where he worked in half-guard. In the closing minutes, Griffin got another takedown as Oliveira attempted for a kimura after being put down. Griffin won the round 10-9.

Oliveira landed the best shot so far with an uppercut that sliced Griffin above the right eye. There was a faucet of blood leaking out of Griffin that caused a pause in the fight before allowing him to continue. Oliveira scored at distance and stopped Griffin’s takedown attempts to even it at 19-19.

The third round was a coin flip with Oliveira dominating the first half and Griffin on top in half-guard for the second half. Oliveira took him down and mounted Griffin and was controlling the round until he was reversed, and Griffin got the top position. I felt Oliveira did more during his portion of the round on top and edged it 29-28.

WINNER: Alex Oliveira by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

It was a very close fight and very bloody due to the cut to Griffin from the uppercut in the second round, which was the most significant strike of the fight. Oliveira earned his tenth victory in the UFC and desperately needed it as he had lost three in a row prior to this victory. Griffin has lost four of his last five fights and falls to 15-8.

LI JINGLIANG (17-5, 171) VS NEIL MAGNY (21-7, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT

Magny and Li had a competitive opening round with Li’s strongest moment being a big right hand and left-hand follow-up. Magny was the one that dictated the pace and piled up knee strikes to the body and secured a body lock takedown while finishing the round strong with knees to the body and jabs. I felt Magny took the opening round 10-9.

Magny took over in the second round and utterly dominated the round. He was landing shots in the clinch, got the takedown and in the final minutes, attacked Li with lots of unanswered strikes and scored one more takedown. I had this round 10-8 for Magny.

Magny continued to dominate in the third with his lightning-quick jabs, knees to the body while Li was durable but couldn’t compete with Magny. I have it 30-26 for Magny.

WINNER: Neil Magny by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Magny put out one of the best performances of his career and re-insert himself in the welterweight division immediately after being idle since November 2018. After the fight, Magny issued a challenge to Michael Chiesa.

During this point in the broadcast, they announced that the UFC 165 main event from September 2013 between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson will be entered into the UFC Hall of Fame this July during International Fight Week.

BENEIL DARIUSH (17-4-1, 156) VS DRAKKAR KLOSE (11-1-1, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT

This fight was wild. The first round saw Dariush get a takedown early and then got onto Klose’s back and applied a body triangle while Klose was on his feet. Klose dealt with Dariush on his back for the duration of the round thwarting numerous choke attempts. It was a dominant round for Dariush and was a 10-8 round for me.

In the second, they swung for the fences with Klose rocking Dariush with several power shots and then was countered with Dariush stunned and on wobbly legs. Dariush continued to put him against the and cage and landed a frightening overhand left hand to drop Klose and win the fight.

WINNER: Beneil Dariush by KO at 1:00 of Round 2

This fight was fantastic with two polar-opposite rounds but each was entertaining. Round 2 was one of the best rounds this year, even though it was sixty seconds.

Dariush has won four straight fights while ending Klose’s three-fight win streak. After the fight, Dariush issued a challenger to former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.

ZHANG WEILI (20-1, 115) VS JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK (16-3, 115) – UFC STRAWWEIGHT TITLE

The pace from these two was amazing from the get-go as Jedrzejczyk came out fast with a tight stance and connected with a big right hand early. Jedrzejczyk was dictating the pace but in time, Zhang started to find her rhythm and time the shots of Jedrzejczyk, Zhang was landing the heavier strikes and the two were even at 28 strikes apiece after one round.

In the second, the pace continued with each landing significant strikes, but it was Zhang with the best shot of the round with a right hand. Later in the round, Jedrzejczyk connected with a left high kick that appeared to connect with the jaw of Zhang.

The third round was a big one for Jedrzejczyk scoring with several big strikes and stunned Zhang early in the round. Jedrzejczyk had shifted to a southpaw stance and was hunting for the high kick. There was a large hematoma forming on Jedrzejczyk’s forehead. I have it 29-28 for Zhang after three.

The fourth round was another hard one to score as Zhang started getting her rights going and appeared to be the one with the heavier shots.

The final round saw Jedrzejczyk landing with left hooks, Zhang came on strong in the middle portion and was fresher but Jedrzejczyk kept pressing and cutting her off. In the end, she landed a big spinning back fist.

This was one of the best fights in UFC history and I had it 48-47 for Zhang.

WINNER: Zhang Weili by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) to retain the UFC strawweight title

This was one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen and will go down in history as one of the best in UFC history. An immediate classic and I’d be stunned if this isn’t the ‘Fight of the Year’.

ISRAEL ADESANYA (18-0, 184.5) VS YOEL ROMERIO (13-4, 185) – UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE

The first round saw minimal engagement from Romero, who was able to win the round with an overhand left hand that was the cleanest and most effective shot of the round. Adesanya had some leg kicks but little happened.

It was similar in the second round, although Romero is being wise with his output to conserve energy. Romero connected with a counter left hand and later, rushed Adesanya against the cage. Adesanya is reacting and landed a pair of kicks near the end, but I have it 20-18 for Romero.

In the third round, Romero didn’t get in any meaningful strikes and Adesanya won his first-round through his kicks. He attacked the legs and body and they added up throughout the round and it was a decisive round for Adesanya.

Adesanya continued with the leg kicks in the fourth round and Romero’s right leg was a mess. Romero finally shot and got a takedown, but Adesanya popped up instantly. Adesanya was patient and happy to tee off on the legs to take the round. I have it even going in the fifth.

In the final round, I felt Romero landed the best shots of the round as he had a sixty-second sequence that was key. Adesanya continued with the leg kicks and they were damaging to Romero. I did score the round for Romero and therefore had it 48-47 for him.

WINNER: Israel Adesanya by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) to retain the UFC middleweight title

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Wow! Fight of the night what a finish!

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Daniel Cormier on the Zhang - Jedrzejczyk fight “I’m watching this fight as a fan, I have no idea who’s won any round.”

That made me chuckle what a war!

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Solid card overall, potential card of the year until that main event. Strange post fight with Yoel, can’t blame Izzy for not bringing the fight to you if you don’t bring the fight yourself. That co-main though…wow fight of the year so far, was incredible. Joanna looked scary after. Greatest women’s fight ever and one of the greatest title fights ever.

UFC might not be happy with that main but that was a great co-main, Suga Sean looked great, Dariush/Klose was awesome. Lots of finishes, overall good card and the fighters the company are behind (Izzy, Zhang, O’Malley) all got Ws

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I really enjoyed the vast majority of this card. It’s nearly 4 AM so I’ll jump right into it.

  • The Co-Main Event was one of the greatest fights of all time. I scored it for Joanna, but it could of went either way. This was a strong contender for fight of the year. Both women looked fantastic, and I would love to see them fight again down the road.
  • I scored the main event 48-47 Romero, but I don’t feel particularly strong about it. A very, very, strange, unnecessary fight. Nonetheless, I look forward to Adesanya/Costa.
  • how awesome was the second round of Klose/Dariush? Beneil Dariush is a consistently entertaining fighter, and I think it’s time for him to be in there with a top 15 guy again.
  • Suga Sean, Neil Magny, and Mark O Madsen all impressed me. Looking forward to each of these men’s next fight.
  • Jones/Gus 1 was the perfect fight for this years hall of fame class. Next year, we really need to starting adding some Robbie Lawler.

I’m really looking forward to next weeks main card, but we are now officially on the journey to Tony vs Khabib, one more time. May the MMA Gods bless us all.

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