Tune in here for live blogs from each of the preliminary card fights, including a middleweight bout between Jorge Rivera and Eric Schafer, a lightweight fight between Kamal Shalorus and newcomer Khabib Nurmagomedov and a welterweight matchup between Charlie Brenneman and Daniel Roberts.
Tonight’s prelims will air live on Fuel TV starting at 6 p.m. Eastern. Those fights lead into the live main-card broadcast, which airs on the FX cable channel starting at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Joseph Sandoval vs. Nick Denis
Round 1: Denis throws early with a right and left, then brings several big combinations. He has Sandoval a little rocked, and Sandoval clinches. But Denis gets a Thai clinch and starts rocking elbows to Sandoval’s head. He lands four big ones and Sandoval crumples. It’s done. Denis with a major-league knockout in his major-league MMA debut.
Result: Nick Denis def. Joseph Sandoval, KO, 0:22 Round 1
Daniel Pineda vs. Pat Schilling
Round 1: Both fighters are making their UFC debuts. In fact, Schilling was working at a Best Buy in Minnesota when he got his call from the UFC. They touch gloves and we start. Both fighters whiff at jabs, then land leg kicks at the same time. Nice left from Pineda, and a right from Schilling. Schilling looks for an uppercut, but he misses. Pineda lands a couple shots, pushes Schilling to the fence, then lifts him for a slam. He lands it, and quickly is in mount. He lands some good ground and pound, but Schilling defends as best he can. Pineda takes his back, but Schilling forces his way back to the feet and tries to knock Pineda off his back. It’s not happening, though, and Pineda keeps the rear naked choke locked on as they go back to the ground. Schilling has to tap.
Result: Daniel Pineda def. Pat Schilling, submission (rear naked choke), 1:37 Round 1
Fabrício Camões vs. Tommy Hayden
Round 1: Hayden is taking this fight on short notice – it was announced Monday. Not much early, as they dance. Camoes misses, but Hayden hits him with a nice jab. Hayden goes for a double, but then pulls back on it. And Camoes then soon after goes for a takedown, but it’s not there. Camoes looks for a kimura though Hayden is holding on to a single leg. Hayden gets out, though, and back to the feet. Caomes lands a nice knee, but Hayden lands a beautiful double – and then gets right back to the feet. Hayden again finds himself back on the ground, where Camoes is most dangerous. Hayden is in half guard, but finds himself needing to escape from an omoplata attempt, then needs to yank his arm back out. He gets up, but Camoes sweeps his leg and gets on top. Camoes takes Hayden’s back nicely, and sinks in a rear naked choke. It looks good, and Hayden taps – maybe. Then he taps again, maybe, with the back of his hand. But Josh Rosenthal isn’t stopping it. Finally, Hayden has enough and really DOES tap this time. It’s a nice submission victory for Camoes in his return to the UFC.
Result: Fabricio Camoes def. Tommy Hayden, submission (rear naked choke), 4:03 Round 1
Charlie Brenneman vs. Daniel Roberts
Round 1: Brenneman lands a right, but Roberts catches him. Brenneman shoots for a double, Roberts goes for his neck, and Brenneman tries to wrestle his way to side control. He gets there, though Roberts still has his neck. Brenneman is trying to pass to mount, and he’s close. Brenneman transitions into the crucifix position and starts raining down blows to Roberts’ head. Then he moves back to side mount. Roberts manages to get back to half guard, but soon after Brenneman is back to side control looking for ground and pound. Brenneman looking for mount, but Roberts is defending. The crowd gets a little restless, but Brenneman throws some nice nkees to the body. The crowd starts chanting “Stand up! Stand up!” thanks to the three first-round stoppages it has seen so far. With less than a minute left in the round, we’re at the longest fight of the night. Roberts continues to be unable to do anything. He tries to get to the fence to wall walk,b ut he’ll only have 10 seconds left when he gets back up. Brenneman takes him right back down. It’s an easy 10-9 first round for Brenneman on the highly unofficial HeavyMMA card.
Round 2: High kick from Roberts 20 seconds in, and it nearly lands. Roberts then goes for a guillotine as Brenneman dives in. But Brenneman immediately counters his position to defend it. Brenneman pops his head out and is in Roberts’ half guard. Referee Herb Dean tells them they need to work, then reminds Brenneman again as he tries to pass to side control and is only working sporadic shots on the ground. But Brenneman passes to side mount and is now dropping repeated punches. He gets the crucifix position again and Roberts is just in a lot of trouble again. Roberts manages to stave off Brenneman and gets back to full guard. Brenneman lands some nice knees to the body, but at 1:30 Dean stands them back up – big advantage for Roberts. He looks for a left as Brenneman moves in, but can’t land it. Roberts looks for an arm for a kimura, and then starts landing some nice elbows. Roberts looks for an armbar, pushes off the fence and then maneuvers around to look for an inverted triangle. He has it, and it looks pretty good – though not enough time to finish it before the round ends. Despite Roberts’ nice end to the round, it should be Brenneman’s round, 10-9.
Round 3: They clinch up early, and Brenneman gets a body lock and takes the fight back to the ground and is in side control again, just like the first two rounds. Brenneman lands some knees, Roberts gets to half guard, but Brenneman quickly gets back to side control. Roberts again having a hard time doing anything, and Dean tells them to work. At 2:25, Dean stands them back up. Roberts takes a lazy shot, but there’s nothing. Brenneman gets it right back down to the ground. There’s nothing happening for Roberts. He looks wiped out and is only just able to defend. Brenneman keeping the pressure on. But In the last 20 seconds, Roberts gets an arm and … does he have enough time with the kimura? Brenneman survives, though his arm is bent pretty nicely backward. It’s a 10-9 round for Brenneman, and he should get the 30-27 sweep.
Result: Charlie Brenneman def. Daniel Roberts, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Kamal Shalorus vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Round 1: Nurmagomedov has never been in the U.S. before, let alone for a fight, and he’s never fought in a cage. Could be interesting. Shalorus lands a left, and Nurmagomedov tries to get a takedown off it. They tie up, and Shalorus looks for knees. They split up a minute in and go back to the middle. Both guys land short crosses. Shalorus is changing up his stance and he throws a high kick that just misses. Front kick from Nurmagomedov misses. Shalorus continues to back the newcomer up. High kick again misses, and Shalorus tries to chase the Russian down with strikes. Nurmagomedov attempts a Karate Kid-esque kick that goes nowhere. Shalorus lands a kick to the body. Shalorus is dominating, but suddenly the Russian catches him and drops him. It’s a stunning development, and Nurmagomedov lands some ground and pound. Shalorus is in all sorts of trouble, but it looks like he’s going to survive. But now with a minute left, Nurmagomedov gets to side mount and is looking for more ground and pound. He postures up and lands a big strike. Shalorus gets back to his feet, but Nurmagomedov lands a couple more. Now they’re both swinging for the fences. With 10 seconds left, they both again start throwing haymakers. The round ends with both guys on their feet, but what a fun first round. It was all Shalorus until Nurmagomedov turned it on, and he may have done enough. It’s a 10-9 first round for Nurmagomedov on the Heavy card.
Round 2: Shalorus lands an inside leg kick, then Nurmagomedov ducks under a big shot from Shalorus. But Nurmagomedov gets the fight to the ground. He is working out of guard, and looking for ground and pound. He gets to half guard, but then Shalorus gets back to full guard. Nurmagomedov lands a few nice shots from the top. He continues to keep things on the ground, but Mario Yamasaki stands them up at the 3-minute mark. Big right hand misses from Nurmagomedov, but he shoots and gets a nice takedown against the former Olympic wrestler, Shalorus. Nurmagomedov looking to pass, but can only get to half guard. Then he bails out of a choke attempt. After a little more inactivity, Yamasaki again stands them up. A really fun little kick-punch combo from Nurmagomedov, who then lands a pair of uppercuts and a right at the end of the round. It’s another 10-9 round for Nurmagomedov on our card going to the last.
Round 3: Shalorus misses with a right early, then shoots for a takedown, but Nurmagomedov defends with no problem. Then both guys miss big rights. Nurmagomedov shoots for a takedown, but it’s not there. Nurmagomedov goes in again, and Shalorus sgets a guillotine. But it probably isn’t tight enough. And sure enough, Nurmagomedov slips out of it. He’s able to get to mount. He’s looking for a rear naked choke, and he’s got it, though it’s oddly turned on the side. But Shalorus soon has to tap. Very impressive UFC debut for Nurmagomedov.
Result: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Kamal Shalorus, submission (rear naked choke), 2:08 Round 3
Jorge Rivera vs. Eric Schafer
Round 1: This will be Rivera’s final fight; he announced his retirement earlier today. He’ll turn 40 next month, and he’s the fan favorite here. Schafer pushes forward early, but Rivera counters with a right that just misses. Schafer takes the fight to the ground, but Rivera pops up briefly before Schafer easily throws the fight back to the ground. Schafer moves around looking for side control, but Rivera bounces back to half guard. Nice reversal from Rivera, though, and he pushes back to his feet. Schafer pushes him to the fence and is looking for a foot sweep takedown. Schafer goes down to his knees looking for a single, and eventually he gets it. He falls into top position in half guard. Schafer looks for short elbows, and Rivera looks for butterfly guard trying to get out. Schafer lands some decent ground-and-pound and briefly looks for a choke. Again, he goes back to the guillotine, but it’s not there. With a minute left, Rivera isn’t able to get anything going other than trying to find a way out. He gets to the fence and looks to wall walk. But Schafer gets it back down. Good reversal, finally, from Rivera, with about 20 seconds left. It’s an easy 10-9 first round for Schafer on the Heavy card.
Round 2: Big right from Rivera to start, but it misses. Then misses again. Schafer shoots for a takedown, looks for a single, but Rivera defends initially. Rivera tries to get out when Schafer grabs a leg, and Rivera turns back around and drops some bombs on him. Schafer is cut, and Rivera kis landing legitimate shots from on top. Herb Dean tells Schafer to fight back – and Dean stops it. It’s a TKO for Rivera in a beautiful comeback in his finally UFC fight. The crowd chants “Jorge! Jorge! Jorge!” and Rivera acknowledges the fans for what he says will be the last time.
Result: Jorge Rivera def. Eric Schafer, TKO, 1:31 Round 2