UFC Fight Night Report: Amanda Lemos stops Marina Rodriguez in the third round
On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event at the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was headlined by a strawweight bout between the division’s third-ranked contender, Marina Rodriguez, and the seventh-ranked Amanda Lemos. Lemos has quickly established herself as one of the strawweight division’s most dangerous fighters, with four finishes throughout her six UFC wins. While Lemos would certainly have the advantage in terms of finishing power, Rodriguez had never been finished in her career going into this fight, and since her split decision loss to Carla Esparza in 2020, Rodriguez has won four consecutive fights, establishing herself as one of the divisions top contenders. The winner of this bout could very well be in line for a title shot, so this was a high-stakes matchup for the two Brazilian fighters. In the co-main event, Neil Magny faced Daniel Rodriguez, as Magny looked to pick up his twentieth win in the UFC’s welterweight division, which would pass Georges St-Pierre for the promotion’s divisional record.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Brendan Fitzgerald, Dominick Cruz, and Daniel Cormier. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Neil Magny, Mario Bautista, Polyana Viana, and Tamires Vidal.
*Tamires Vidal def. Ramona Pascual by TKO at 3:06 of Round 1
*Jake Hadley def. Carlos Candelario by triangle choke at 2:39 of Round 2
*Johnny Munoz def. Liudvik Sholinian by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Polyana Viana def. Jinh Yu Frey by TKO at 0:47 of Round 1
*Mario Bautista def. Benito Lopez by armbar at 4:54 of Round 1
*Miranda Maverick def. Shanna Young by unanimous decision (30-26 all)
*Grant Dawson def. Mark O. Madsen by rear naked choke at 2:05 of Round 3
*Tagir Ulanbekov def. Nate Maness by guillotine choke at 2:11 of Round 1
*Shayilan Nuerdanbieke def. Darrick Minner by TKO at 1:07 of Round 1
*Neil Magny def. Daniel Rodriguez by D’Arce choke at 3:33 of Round 3
*Amanda Lemos def. Marina Rodriguez by TKO at 0:54 of Round 3
TAMIRES VIDAL (6-1, 134) VS RAMONA PASCUAL (6-4, 137) – BATAMWEIGHT
Pascual missed weight by 1lb and was fined 20% of her purse.
The fighters traded leg kicks throughout the opening minute before both women started attacking the body. This prompted Vidal to engage Pascual in the clinch, where she pushed Pascual against the cage in an attempt to take her to the ground. Pascual was able to defend the takedown attempt, but as the fighters separated, it was Vidal who continued to apply pressure, backing Pascual up, before landing a jumping knee to the body that ended the fight.
WINNER: Tamires Vidal by TKO at 3:06 of Round 1
Vidal looked impressive here in her UFC debut. All of her wins coming into this fight have been by submission or decision (or disqualification), so for Vidal to come into this fight and stop her opponent with strikes in just three minutes was quite the result, showcasing her versatility as a fighter. The fight-ending knee was a brutal one, and I think referee Chris Tognoni deserves credit for stopping the fight when he did because I think many referees would have let that one continue, which would have resulted in Pascual taking unnecessary damage.
CARLOS CANDELARIO (8-2, 128.5) VS JAKE HADLEY (8-1, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Candelario missed weight by 2.5lbs and was fined 20% of his purse.
Candelario began the fight with a strong straight left hand. Candelario was really putting the pressure on Hadley, backing him into the cage early with his constant one-twos. The fighters traded quick jabs, with both men doing effective work, opening their opponents up for extended combinations. At one point Hadley stepped in and landed a hard elbow, but Candelario continued to advance as he attempted to catch Hadley with one of these big right hands. Hadley was doing good work to the body as well, and as the round progressed, it felt as though the momentum was beginning to shift in his favor, as Hadley began to apply the pressure himself, backing Candelario up while throwing heavy combinations.
Hadley stumbled toward the start of the second round, and Candelario looked to capitalize by taking Hadley to the ground. Hadley managed to defend the attempt, and the fight continued to play out on the feet early in round two. It seemed as though Candelario was starting to be overwhelmed by Hadley’s body shots, and he opted to shoot for a takedown but was caught in a triangle choke in the process. Hadley threw up vicious elbows, cutting Candelario open, as he continued to apply pressure with his legs, looking to secure the submission. Candelario was unable to escape, and Hadley secured the second-round submission victory.
WINNER: Jake Hadley by triangle choke at 2:39 of Round 2
I thought this was an excellent fight while it lasted. Both fighters looked great on the feet, fighting at a very impressive pace with quite the output offensively. Candelario’s pressure led to early success, but Hadley’s bodywork quickly took its toll on Candelario, slowing him down, and allowing Hadley to really go on the attack. In Hadley’s first UFC fight, Allan Nascimento was largely able to control him on the ground, which ultimately cost Hadley that bout on the scorecards. Here, Hadley was immediately active off of his back after being taken down and quickly secured the finish as a result. It was quite the performance from Hadley, and overall, a very entertaining fight.
LIUDVIK SHOLINIAN (9-2-1, 135.5) VS JOHNNY MUNOZ (11-2, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Munoz was getting the better of the early exchanges on the feet, however, Sholinian was throwing out a lot of feints, seemingly trying to set something up for a later moment in the fight. Munoz continued to land the more damaging strikes as the round progressed, and he had outlanded Sholinian by a significant amount as well. Sholinian was swinging wildly with his shots, allowing Munoz time to escape and counter strongly. Despite this, Sholinian never stopped moving forward, seemingly undeterred by Munoz’s power, but this was a rough opening round for him. 10-9 Munoz.
Sholinian switched up his strategy in the second round, as he heavily pursued a takedown in an attempt to get the fight to the ground. Munoz was largely able to defend Sholinian’s attempts, and while he was held up against the cage for quite some time, Sholinian was unable to do much with the position, and in my opinion, the round came down to what occurred with the fighters separated on the feet. Throughout these exchanges, Munoz was several steps ahead of Sholinian, just as he was in the first round, and I thought he did more than enough damage to earn this round in the end. 20-18 Munoz.
Munoz shot for a takedown in the final round, eating several elbows to the head in the process. Munoz was successful in taking Sholinian down but was unable to keep him there for long, and Sholinian quickly escaped to his feet. Sholinian seemed to be the busier fighter in this final round, but still wasn’t fighting with quite the aggression that he needed to in order to force a finish. I thought Sholinian won this round, but I scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Munoz.
WINNER: Johnny Munoz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Munoz was clearly the more skillful striker, and he was easily able to out-strike Sholinian on the feet throughout the first two rounds. Sholinian turned it around in the third round, as Munoz’s offense output decreased dramatically, however, Munoz was able to utilize his grappling ability to take Sholinian down repeatedly, and still won the round on two of the three judges’ scorecards. It was a solid all-round performance from Munoz, who is now 2-2 in the UFC following this win.
POLYANA VIANA (12-5, 115.5) VS JINH YU FREY (11-7, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
In the opening minute of the fight, Vianna caught Frey with a lengthy combination of hooks, and eventually, Frey went down hard from the shots, ending the fight quickly.
WINNER: Polyana Viana by TKO at 0:47 of Round 1
Viana is a fighter with a lot of quick finishes on her resume, but in the UFC, most of those finishes have come by way of submission. Here, we saw a Polyana Viana who was fighting very aggressively on the feet, and that strategy paid off quickly with the vicious first-round knockout. After starting her run in the UFC with a 1-3 record, Viana has rebounded strongly, and now holds an overall record of 4-4 in the promotion. All of Viana’s wins in the UFC have come in the first round, and she has certainly established herself as one of the more entertaining fighters in the division at this point.
MARIO BAUTISTA (10-2, 135.5) VS BENITO LOPEZ (10-1, 138.5) – BATAMWEIGHT
Lopez missed weight by 2.5lbs and was fined 20% of his purse.
The fighters traded heavy leg kicks early. Bautista was landing some very heavy body shots, and he seemed to be overwhelming Lopez with his power early, forcing him to cover up against the cage. Bautista opted to take Lopez to the ground with just under three minutes to work, and he postured up as he attempted to finish the fight with ground and pound strikes. Bautista passed into full mount, and he started hunting for a straight armbar, before transitioning to a triangle armbar late in the round. Bautista locked the submission in, and Lopez was forced to submit.
WINNER: Mario Bautista by armbar at 4:54 of Round 1
Bautista looked fantastic here. From the start of the fight, he pressured forward, attacking the legs and body of Lopez in combination. Bautista was throwing each of his strikes with fight-ending intentions, and it didn’t take long for Lopez to start crumbling from the power and pressure, allowing Bautista to take the fight to the ground. From here, Bautista showcased some very high-level grappling, transitioning from position to position at will, before locking in the fight-ending armbar. It was pretty much a perfect performance from Bautista, and he did it against an opponent who missed weight by a significant amount. Bautista is now 5-2 in the UFC, and he has won three consecutive fights.
MIRANDA MAVERICK (10-4, 125.5) VS SHANNA YOUNG (8-4, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Young caught Maverick with a counter right hand in the opening minute, doing her best to maintain the distance. Maverick was looking for body kicks, however, she wasn’t throwing the strikes with a ton of power, seemingly troubled by Young’s range. Eventually Maverick opted to change levels in search of a takedown, and she was successful, dragging Young down against the cage. Maverick was able to secure a strong position on the ground and throw down ground and pound strikes to end the round, which was enough to give her the edge in what was otherwise a very close round on the feet. 10-9 Maverick.
Maverick was able to take Young back to the ground just a minute into the second round. She was able to transition to the back of Young, however, Young scrambled to her feet, escaping danger for the time being. Maverick immediately shot in for another takedown and was eventually successful in tripping Young back to the ground, where she quickly secured top mount. Maverick threw down heavy ground and pound strikes, forcing Young to give up her back, and the round ended in this position. 20-18 Maverick.
Maverick wasted little time in taking Young back to the ground in the final round. Once again, she was able to take the back of Young, and while Young did her best to defend herself, she ate a lot of ground and pound strikes and was unable to break away from Maverick, who dominated this round with her wrestling. The fight went the distance, and I scored the fight 30-26 in favor of Maverick.
WINNER: Miranda Maverick by unanimous decision (30-26 all)
Young’s height and reach advantages were giving Maverick a lot of problems on the feet in the opening round, but once she decided to really commit to her wrestling, this became a very one-sided fight in Maverick’s favor. Young had absolutely no answers for Maverick on the ground, and you could argue that both the second and third rounds could have been scored 10-8 for Maverick, who gave Young no opportunities to create offense for herself. It was a dominant win for Maverick, and after the fight she called out Molly McCann, implying that McCann does not deserve her place in the rankings.
GRANT DAWSON (18-1-1, 157.5) VS MARK O. MADSEN (12-0, 155) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Dawson missed weight by 1.5lbs and was fined 20% of his purse.
Madsen was able to take an advantageous position on the ground in the opening minute after effectively dropping Dawson with a one-two, but Dawson quickly scrambled up to his feet before bringing Madsen right back down, where he took the back of Madsen. Dawson locked in a body triangle, and he started hunting for a rear naked choke. Madsen was able to defend the submission attempt, but he could not escape the position, and Dawson ended the round on Madsen’s back.
Dawson chased after a single leg to begin the second round, and he was eventually successful in dragging Madsen to the ground. Madsen was able to limit Dawson’s damage on the ground, however, he was less successful in improving his own position, and Dawson spent the near entirety of this round in top position. It was far from the most entertaining round, but a fairly clear one for Grant Dawson.
Dawson connected with the first significant shot of the final round, an overhand right. Dawson landed numerous calf kicks, and it quickly became apparent that the lead leg of Madsen was compromised. Madsen attempted to pressure forward and fight through the pain, but eventually, one of those leg kicks sent Madsen to the ground, and Dawson followed him down, securing top position. Dawson transitioned to the back of Madsen, and he sunk in a rear naked choke, forcing Madsen to submit.
WINNER: Grant Dawson by rear naked choke at 2:05 of Round 3
Madsen caught Dawson early, but Dawson quickly recovered, and largely dominated the rest of this fight. To control a wrestler on the level of Mark O. Madsen on the ground like Dawson did throughout this bout was quite the accomplishment, and he seemingly did it with ease here, taking Madsen down at will. In the end, Dawson was able to put Madsen away with leg kicks, sending him to the ground before sinking in the fight ending rear naked choke. It was Dawson’s biggest win to date, and in his post-fight interview, he called out Tony Ferguson, saying that he’s taken Ferguson’s spot in the rankings, and if Ferguson wants it back, he’s going to have to face Dawson in his next bout. Dawson is now 7-0-1 in the UFC, and this marked his fifth finish in the promotion.
TAGIR ULANBEKOV (13-2, 124.5) VS NATE MANESS (14-2, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Ulanbekov secured a takedown in the opening minute, and he began to work from the guard of Nate Maness. Maness attempted to scramble to his feet, but Ulanbekov caught him in a guillotine choke, and the submission was in tight, forcing Maness to tap out.
WINNER: Tagir Ulanbekov by guillotine choke at 2:11 of Round 1
This was a nasty guillotine choke, and quite the highlight finish for Ulanbekov, his first stoppage victory since joining the UFC back in 2020. There isn’t a lot to break down from such a short fight, but Ulanbekov continues to impress, and this was a very dominant performance against a sizeable opponent in Nate Maness, who has fought multiple bouts at featherweight. I think it’s fair to say that Ulanbekov will be fighting up in the rankings in his next bout, and I think Jeff Molina or Manel Kape would serve as logical next opponents for him.
DARRICK MINNER (26-13, 146) VS SHAYILAN NUERDANBIEKE (38-10, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Early in the bout, Minner seemed to hurt his leg after kicking and throwing a heavy kick to the body of Nuerdanbieke. He attempted to throw the kick again, but it quickly became clear that Minner could no longer stand. Nuerdanbieke recognized this, and he pressured forward, took Minner down, and threw down brutal elbows until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Shayilan Nuerdanbieke by TKO at 1:07 of Round 1
Unfortunately, the injury occurred in the opening exchange of this bout, so we didn’t really get to see how this one would have played out. Nuerdanbieke did exactly what he should have given the situation, and deservedly had his arm raised in the end, but the way in which this fight played out was certainly disappointing. Despite the circumstances, Nuerdanbieke was excited to pick up his first stoppage in the UFC here, and he now holds a record of 3-1 in the promotion, with three consecutive wins.
NEIL MAGNY (26-9, 170.5) VS DANIEL RODRIGUEZ (17-2, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
Rodriguez began the fight with several left hands on the body, which was having an immediate effect on Magny, backing him into the cage. Magny attempted to keep the range with lead right hooks, although he would also engage Rodriguez in the clinch whenever Rodriguez got too close. Magny dragged Rodriguez to the ground at one point and was largely able to control Rodriguez from his back against the cage until the end of the round.
Both fighters landed strong shots in the opening minute of round two. A powerful left hand from Rodriguez caught Magny as he was trapped against the cage, and Rodriguez continued to attack Magny with his left hand, landing powerful blows to the head and body. Magny began to fire back as the round progressed, and he would find success whenever he flurried forward, but Magny was spending too much of this round on the backfoot, and Rodriguez was certainly the fighter landing the more damaging shots.
Magny pressured forward to start the final round, but Rodriguez knocked Magny off balance with another strong left hand, which led to Magny pulling guard. Rodriguez allowed Magny to return to his feet, and Magny quickly dragged Rodriguez down to the ground. Magny took the back of Rodriguez, but he was a bit too high, and Magny lost his position. Still, Magny was the stronger grappler, and Magny was able to return Rodriguez to the mat, where he sunk in a D’Arce choke, forcing Rodriguez to submit.
WINNER: Neil Magny by D’Arce choke at 3:33 of Round 3
Rodriguez brought the fight to Magny here, and after hurting Magny early in the third round, I thought he was on his way to victory. Magny is a crafty, resilient fighter, however, and he was able to utilize his grappling advantage over Rodriguez late to secure the finish, ending the fight in dramatic fashion. While a win over Daniel Rodriguez isn’t going to shoot Magny up the division’s rankings, it served as a reminder that Magny’s been a ranked fighter for as long as he has for a reason, and in his post-fight interview, he called out Gilbert Burns, one of the divisions top contenders. This marked Magny’s twentieth win in the UFC welterweight division, and as a result, he now owns sole possession of the record for most wins in UFC welterweight history, passing Georges St-Pierre.
MARINA RODRIGUEZ (16-1-2, 115.5) VS AMANDA LEMOS (12-2-1, 114.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
There was a bit of a feeling-out process to begin this one, as both fighters tested the range. Lemos advanced as Rodriguez circled, with neither fighter landing many significant strikes. Lemos started to attack the lead leg of Rodriguez, but not with enough regularity to produce immediate results. Lemos ended the round with a takedown attempt, but Rodriguez took top position and landed a few shots before time expired.
Rodriguez opened up with a kick to the body at the start of the second round. Lemos caught Rodriguez with a counter right hand, but Rodriguez took the shot well and continued to circle Lemos. Lemos tripped Rodriguez to the ground with just under three minutes to work, and she immediately took the back of Rodriguez. Lemos nearly caught her with a rear naked choke, but Rodriguez was able to escape the submission attempt, and Lemos moved into half guard. Lemos was able to maintain this position until the end of the round.
In the opening minute of round three, Lemos rocked Rodriguez with a big right hand, and she just began to flurry forward, throwing heavy hooks as Rodriguez tried to cover up against the cage. Referee Jason Herzog did not believe that Rodriguez was intelligently defending herself, and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Amanda Lemos by TKO at 0:54 of Round 3
The first round of this fight was very slow, but Lemos really picked it up in the second round, nearly catching Rodriguez with a rear naked choke. While Rodriguez was able to survive the second-round grappling exchange, she was unable to make it through Lemos’s barrage of hooks in round three, and Lemos picked up the third-round stoppage, her fifth stoppage victory since debuting in the UFC, which ties her for the divisional record. It was exactly the type of performance that Lemos needed in this main event slot, and in her post-fight interview, Lemos asked to be the back up fighter for Carla Esparza’s upcoming title defence against Weili Zhang. I don’t know if Lemos will jump right into a title shot, as she was quickly stopped by Jessica Andrade not too long ago, but she’s certainly not far off, and may very well be the most dangerous fighter currently fighting at 115lbs.