UFC 248 live updates: Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero
UFC 248 takes place Saturday night from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and is headlined by UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (18-0) defending his title against Yoel Romero (13-4). The co-feature is a UFC women’s strawweight title defense with champion Zhang Weili (20-1) meeting former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3).
In preliminary action, Mongolian competitor Danaa Batgerel scored his first UFC victory with an impressive first round knockout of Guido Cannetti. A close and competitive bout saw Giga Chikadze score a split decision win over Jamall Emmers (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
The televised portion of the card began with Gerald Meerschaert submitting Deron Winn with a rear naked choke in the third round. After two competitive rounds, Meerschaert hurt Winn with punches and secured the submission on the ground. Jiu jitsu world champion Rodolfo Vieira was tagged with some big punches early but recovered quickly and submitted Saparbek Safarov later in the first round. Danish Olympic silver medalist Mark Madsen dominated the first two rounds against Austin Hubbard with his wrestling. Hubbard punished Madsen with strikes in the third but it was not enough as all three judges scored the bout 29-28 for Madsen. The final fight before the pay-per-view portion saw Sean O’Malley return to action with a quick first round TKO of Jose Alberto Quinonez.
Alex Oliveira vs. Max Griffin
The UFC 248 pay-per-view begins with a welterweight bout as the popular “Cowboy” Alex Oliveira looks to rebound from a three fight losing streak when he takes on Max Griffin. Oliveira has wins over quality fighters like Carlos Condit, Ryan LaFlare, Tim Means and Will Brooks prior to his recent struggles. Griffin is 3-5 in the UFC with a notable win over the colorful Mike Perry.
Round 1. The pace is quick right from the start, with both men throwing power punches in volume. Oliveira is cnnecting a little more to start. Oliveira is having success with his right hand. Griffin appears to stun Oliveira with a punch and Oliveira clinches looking to recover. They tumble to the mat with Griffin securing top position. Griffin is in open guard and then moves into half guard while landing some punches from the top. Oliveira stands back up late and uses a kimura to keep Griffin from getting him back down. Close round. 10-9 Griffin.
Round 2. Oliveira comes out aggressively again and opens up a cut near the eye of Griffin with an uppercut. Griffin clinches but then Oliveira looks for a takedown. Oliveira lands a couple hard kicks and follows with a big punch. Oliveira has dominated the first half of the round. Oliveira throws a spinning back elbow that doesn’t connect solidly. Oliveira looks for a takedown. Griffin defends well. Oliveira lands a superman punch. Griffin blocks another takedown attempt late. Clear round for Oliveira, on the border of a 10-8. 10-9 Oliveira.
Round 3. Oliveira throws a number of kicks early before they end up back in a clinch. Oliveira connects with some hard elbows in the clinch. Oliveira gets a takedown and secures full mount as Griffin tries to get back up. Griffin gains half guard but he is bleeding badly and is having great difficulty seeing. Oliveira gets full mount. Oliveira loses mount and Griffin takes top position. In addition to it being a better position, Griffin’s blood is now no longer pouring into his own eyes. Griffin lands some punches from the top. 10-9 Oliveira, 29-28 Oliveira.
Winner: Alex Oliveira, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
That was an excellent fight and Oliveira was the deserving winner.
Neil Magny vs. Li Jingliang
Neil Magny is a perennial contender in the welterweight division, having fought many of the division’s best competitors. He is 6-3 in his last 9 fights with wins over Kelvin Gastelum and Johny Hendricks among others. Li Jingliang is one of the best Chinese fighters. He made his UFC debut in 2014 and is 7-1 in his last 8 fights.
Round 1. After some standup exchanges, Li grabs a body lock a minute and a half in and looks for a takedown. Li gets Magny down briefly but Magny stands back up. Li blasts Magny with a big right hand in the process and fires additional punches looking for a finish. Magny clinches and gets a takedown but Li stands back up. Li then works for a takedown of his own. He gets it briefly but Magny pushes him off and they are back on the feet in the final minute. Magny connects with some knees and punches late. 10-9 Magny.
Round 2. They quickly return to a clinch. Magny lands some uncontested punches there. Li grabs a single leg and then a double leg but Magny prevents the takedown. Magny adds a few more punches from the clinch. Neither man is able to get a better position from the clinch but Magny is having much more success landing shots in the position. Magny opens up with offense at the end of the round. Li is mostly able to avoid the punches early with his head movement but Magny connects with a few hard punches late and then gets a takedown at the close of the round. 10-9 Magny.
Round 3. Li wings some power punches at the start of the round. Magny goes for a takedown and they end up back in a clinch. Li looks for a takedown but doesn’t get it. Magny connects with a strong 2 punch combination. Magny scores a takedown in the final 90 seconds and lands some quality punches from there. Magny keeps throwing punches, knees and elbows to the close. 10-9 Magny, 30-27 Magny.
Winner: Neil Magny, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Neil Magny was able to get the better of the clinch battles in particular and rely on his excellent cardio to secure a clear win over a quality opponent there.
Beneil Dariush vs. Drakkar Klose
Beneil Dariush is a highly skilled and underappreciated fighter with an 11-4-1 record over the course of his UFC career. He has won three straight and often ends up matched with opponents other fighters don’t want to fight. Drakkar Klose is now 11-1-1 in MMA including five UFC wins, all by decision.
Round 1. Klose lands a few strong punches early. Dariush scores a takedown but Klose gets right back up. Dariush hops on Klose’s back and uses a body triangle on the feet while looking to lock in a choke. Klose defends well but Dariush is able to maintain control and keep working. Four minutes in, Dariush has a good angle and he squeezes the choke. Klose continues to fight and is able to avoid the submission. 10-9 Dariush.
Round 2. Klose has success with his boxing early and he really connects with a big punch in the middle of an exchange. However, as Klose looks to finish, Dariush fires back and lands a big counterpunch. Klose continues to pursue and Dariush lands an even bigger right hook. Klose is forced to retreat and Dariush knocks Klose down and out with an overland left.
Winner: Beneil Dariush, KO, round 2.
That was a thrilling conclusion to the fight in the second round. It looked like Klose was on the verge of victory and then it quickly turned in the other direction. It’s sure to go down as one of the most memorable moments in Dariush’s career.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Title: Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna Jedrzejczyk was the fighter that put this division on the map, dominating for years as champion before being upset by Rose Namajunas. She now looks to regain that title against the first Chinese UFC champion. Zhang Weili is unbeaten in the UFC and won the title in 42 seconds via TKO. There is some personal animosity as well, stemming largely from Jedrzejczyk posting a parody promotional poster wearing a gas mask following the coronavirus outbreak in China.
Round 1. Jedrzejczyk opens with a series of leg kicks. She then fires in a few punches that land well. Jedrzejczyk follows with a big right hand. Jedrzejczyk smiles after a wild exchange where both fighters connect. Zhang lands a few hard punches up the middle. Jedzrejczyk answers with a strong right hand. Zhang sends Jedrzejczyk back with a couple solid punches. Zhang lands another strong right. Jedrzejczyk follows with some punches of her own. Jedrzejczyk throws a punch well after the end of the round. Close round. 10-9 Jedrzejczyk.
Round 2. They go right back to work, aggressively throwing at a fast clip. Both are consistently landing quality strikes. Zhang looks for a takedown but it is blocked. Jedrzejczyk lands a couple of knees in the clinch. Zhang responds with heavy elbows and that forces Jedrzejczyk to back away. Zhang wobbles Jedrzejczyk with a right hand and follows with some kicks. Jedrzejczyk clinches and lands a series of knees to the body late. 10-9 Zhang.
Round 3. Zhang has success with her first couple combinations. They continue to throw with tremendous volume. Jedrzejczyk connects with a strong left hand and then another. They trade leg kicks. Jedrzejczyk lands another left hand and Zhang is starting to bleed pretty solidly from around the nose. Zhang goes for a trip takedown but Jedrzejczyk pops up twice. Zhang lands a nice right hand. Jedrzejczyk again lands that left hand. 10-9 Jedrzejczyk.
Round 4. They come out swinging again, throwing looping punches at each other from close range. They both have connected with some major shots. Jedrzejczyk lands a couple of knees. Jedrzejczyk is taking over on volume in the middle part of this round. Zhang nails Jedrzejczyk with a big straight right hand. The growth on Jedrzejczyk’s cheek is getting to be a real problem. They clinch and Zhang connects with a couple of shots on separation. 10-9 Jedrejczyk.
Round 5. Zhang lands a few quality punches early. Jedrzejczyk answers with a straight right hand. Zhang lands a big left hook. Jedrzejczyk is having trouble with her nose now. Jedrejczyk responds with a stiff hook and then another. Zhang catches a kick and throws a few punches in the process. Jedrzejczyk lands a late spinning backfist. 10-9 Zhang, 48-47 Jedrzejczyk.
Winner: Zhang Weili, split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).
That was an all time classic, a back and forth war fought at a torrid pace. The scores reflected just how close it was. Both fighters elevated their stock based on their performances and it’s a fight fans will be talking about for years to come.
UFC Middleweight Title: Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero
The charismatic and dynamic Israel Adesanya still has yet to taste to defeat as world middleweight champion. With injury derailing top contender Paulo Costa, Adesanya will defend against freak athlete and Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero. Romero is 42 and has lost two straight, but they were both thrilling, close fights.
Round 1. Romero comes out slowly and just stands in a shell with his hands up. Neither fighter engages for the first two minutes. Romero lands a low kick halfway through the round. Adesanya throws a punch and a high kick, neither of which land. Romero throws a big punch that lands better. Romero lands a leaping kick to the body. Uneventful round. 10-9 Romero.
Round 2. Romero connects with a massive left hand but Adesanya recovers quickly. Adesanya throws a head kick that is blocked. Adesanya lands a few low kicks. Romero lands a low kick and then throws a series of punches to the head of Adesanya as Adesanya backs away. Romero catches a kick and responds with a hard punch. Adesanya lands a leg kick and then a head kick. 10-9 Romero.
Round 3. Adesanya narrowly misses with a high kick. They trade low kicks and then point at each other. Adesanya lands a hard kick to the body. Adesanya then throws a front kick up the middle. Adesanya lands a jab and Romero sticks out his tongue. Fans are amusing themselves by waving around their phones in the background. 10-9 Adesanya.
Round 4. Romero opens up with a combination but nothing lands solidly. Adesanya connects with a couple low kicks. Romero shoots in with a takedown and gets Adesanya down but Adesanya immediately pops back up. Adesanya continues to throw his leg kicks, really the only consistent action of the fight. Romero attacks with a few power punches but nothing connects. Adesanya hammers Romero with a heavy leg kick. Romero lands a couple strong punches late. 10-9 Adesanya.
Round 5. Romero lands a left hand early. He tries another one and it doesn’t connect. Romero clinches and tries for a takedown but doesn’t come close. Adesanya lands a leg kick. Romero knocks Adesanya back with a punch. Romero lands another left hand. Adesanya throws a head kick that’s barely blocked. Adesanya lands a leg kick. Romero gets in Adesanya’s face at the close of the fight. 10-9 Romero, 48-47 Romero.
Winner: Israel Adesanya, unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).
That was a forgettable bout. Both fighters clearly recognized the danger posed by the other and so they didn’t engage. In a fight so uneventful, the scorecards can go either way. Adesanya’s third and fourth were probably the most active rounds and that was likely the difference.
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