UFC Fight Night: Moreno vs Royval 2
UFC's return to Mexico City, Mexico provided fight fans with an exciting night of fights. With 13 fighters of Mexican descent competing, there were plenty of highs for the crowd at Arena CDMX. Here's the fighters who shined extra bright on Mexican soil.
Fight Of The Night: Daniel Zellhuber vs Francisco Prado
Daniel Zellhuber has been one of most intriguing prospects coming out of the lightweight division for a while, and he showcased why against Francisco Prado at UFC Mexico City.
For 15 minutes "Golden Boy" was a sniper, picking a relentless Prado apart. Zellhuber busted up Prado pretty bad with his counter strikes and his combinations but Prado never stopped pushing forward and looking for the knockout. The combination of Zellhuber's striking prowess and Prado's toughness made for a high-quality battle that had fight fans everywhere appreciate the work of both lightweights.
Zellhuber got the unanimous decision win with the performance and puts himself in a great position to take a step up the 155-pound ladder his next time out.
Performance Of The Night Bonuses
Performance Of The Night: Brian Ortega
"T-City" is finally back in the win column.
Brian Ortega has waited a long time to get back into the Octagon after suffering an injury against Yair Rodriguez in 2022. He made the most of his second chance versus Rodriguez, pushing through an excellent first round by the former interim champion. Then in the second Ortega utilized his grappling to take over the fight and dominate Rodriguez for basically the entire second frame.
He went back to the well at the beginning of the third, taking Rodriguez down and transitioning into full-mount. He quickly hopped on an arm triangle that forced the tap from Rodriguez. It was a beautiful sequence and showed everyone that Ortega still has that championship heart and ability. The win comes at a perfect time with the featherweight division going through a transition and with the division in the spotlight.
Performance Of The Night: Manuel Torres
If people don't know who Manuel Torres is at this point they may want to do some research.
The Mexican lightweight means business every time he competes, and most of the time he finishes his fights in the first round. That was the case at UFC Mexico City when he hurt Chris Duncan and then submitted him with a rear naked choke. The win solidifies "El Loco" as another exciting prospect coming out of Mexico.
[Attendance - 21,546 sold out]
UFC 298: Volkanovski vs Topuria
UFC's second PPV event of 2024 was an incredible one, with Ilia Topuria breaking through and claiming the UFC featherweight championship with a stunning knockout win over Alexander Volkanovski. Elsewhere on the card there were back-and-forth battles and other bonus worth performances.
Fight Of The Night: Amanda Lemos vs Mackenzie Dern
The featured prelim was a wild one, as Brazilian strawweights shined in a 15-minute battle.
The first round was a tale of two styles, as Amanda Lemos found great success on the feet until Mackenzie Dern a was able to get the fight to the canvas. It was a very close round and prompted Lemos to turn things up in the second frame.
Lemos landed a picture-perfect straight right as Dern entered and dropped the submission ace to the floor. Lemos pressed the action and connected with another strike that dropped Dern again, this time forcing her to shell up. The fight was nearly stopped but Dern showed next-level toughness to hang on and push the fight to the third.
Beat-up but far from out, Dern got the Anaheim crowd on their feet and fought her heart out for the last five minutes. She was able to get the fight to the floor and gain some control time and have her best round of the fight, but Lemos’ big first two rounds were too much to overcome. It was a great fight and shows just how great the strawweight division is.
Performance Of The Night Bonuses
Performance Of The Night: Ilia Topuria
It doesn’t get any better than what Ilia Topuria accomplished tonight.
Topuria took his time and found the hole he needed to exploit in Alexander Volkanovski’s game. Volk had success in the first round and was picking away at Topuria for most of the third then out of nowhere Topuria rushed the longtime champion.
Topuria’s furious combo was capped off with a right-hand right on the button and put Volkanovski out up against the fence. It was shocking to everyone in Honda Center except Topuria. He was confident this would happen and he believed he would knock him out in the second round. Job done.
Topuria became the fifth featherweight UFC champion in history with the win and brings the belt back to Spain and Georgia.
Performance Of The Night: Anthony Hernandez
“Fluffy” needs to get the recognition he deserves. The middleweight contender has won five straight fights and he’s done them in impressive fashion.
Anthony Hernandez accepted a dangerous fight with knockout artist Roman Kopylov and he turned in a trademark performance. It was gritty and it was relentless, and eventually he was able to work his way into a favorable position and choke out Kopylov.
Only big things are on the horizon for the No. 15 ranked Hernandez who certainly earned the chance to fight up in the rankings his next time out.
Performance Of The Night: Zhang Mingyang
We saw a brief glimpse of Zhang Mingyang’s power when he fought on Road To UFC back in 2022. Well now we’ve had a full introduction to just how fun it is to watch the light heavyweight from China compete in the Octagon.
Zhang’s debut came against Brendson Ribeiro, who looked incredible on Dana White’s Contender Series. The two went toe-to-toe until someone was knocked out and it was Zhang who emerged from the battle victorious. With the win he became the first fighter from China to win a fight in a weight class of light heavyweight or higher.
Attendance - 18,186
Announced Live Gate - $7,264,734
Highest Grossing Live Event At Honda Center
Highest Grossing MMA Event In California History
UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Pyfer
The night before the big game kicked off at Allegiant Stadium, the best action in Las Vegas took place inside the UFC APEX, with a six-fight main card filled with middleweight matchups and capped by a classic “veteran versus prospect” battle between Jack Hermansson and Joe Pyfer.
Performance Of The Night Bonuses
Performance Of The Night: Bogdan Guskov vs Zac Pauga
Light heavyweight Bogdan Gustov earned his first UFC victory in-style, knocking out TUF alumni Zac Pauga.
Early in the first round the Uzbekistan native fired off a lightning quick combination that closed the show. It was the perfect way for Guskov to bounce back after coming off short in his UFC debut. With plenty of power and technique to boot, Guskov has his sights on a bright 2024.
Performance Of The Night: Carlos Prates vs Trevin Giles
Coming into UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Pyfer, prospect Carlos Prates looked to be one of the bright stars coming off of Dana White’s Contender Series. He backed up the hype with a walk off knockout over respected veteran Trevin Giles.
Although it took Prates some time to get going there's no denying that the Brazilian welterweight has all the skill to be a contender in the division. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for the Fighting Nerds athlete as he looks to have a stellar rookie campaign.
Performance Of The Night: Rodolfo Vieira vs Armen Petrosyan
Known for his submission skills, middleweight Rodolfo Vieira came in and showed exactly why people rave about his ground game. Once he was able to get Armen Petrosyan to the ground he was lights out and sunk in an arm triangle submission as time expired in the first round.
That makes back-to-back arm triangle submission wins for Vieira, as well as back-to-back Performance of the Night bonuses. Vieira is now tied for the 3rd most submission wins in UFC middleweight history with five. He is also in sole possession of the most arm triangle choke submissions in UFC history.
Vieira has never had a three fight win streak in the UFC and looks to make that happen in 2024.
Performance Of The Night: Dan Ige vs Andre Fili
Coming off a tough decision loss to Bryce Mitchell featherweight stalwart Dan Ige defended his place in the rankings against Andre Fili. It was a weird matchup for Ige, who considers Fili a friend, but that didn’t hold him back in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Pyfer.
Ige delivered a stunning first round knockout reminding everyone why they used to call him “Dynamite Dan.” In his octagon interview Ige revealed that he and his wife were expecting a new baby at any moment.
With a new baby on the way and back in the win column 50,000 thousand dollars is just the cherry on top.
UFC Fight Night: Dolidze vs Imavov
The second fight card of 2024 to take place in the UFC APEX delivered some important results for the leader in mixed martial arts.
There was just a little bit of everything at UFC Fight Night: Dolidze vs Imavov, solid back-and-forth fights, submissions, knockouts and controversy. Here were the fighters and fights that shined.
Fight Of The Night: Azat Maksum vs Charles Johnson
Maksum started out looking flawless – just as he’s been throughout his mixed martial arts career. He dropped Johnson multiple times and had the UFC vet on his heels. But between the first and second round, Johnson tapped into his “Inner G” and started working his game. He pushed Maksum and was the busier fighter in the second frame. In the third Johnson had completely turned the tables on Maksum, he hurt him a few times and nearly had him out with a ninja choke before pouring it on as time expired.
It was one heck of a comeback win for Johnson who took a big risk with this fight, which paid off in a big way.
Performance Of The Night Bonuses
Performance Of The Night: Molly McCann
Strawweight Molly McCann is here, and she looked phenomenal at 115-pounds.
“Meatball” happily accepted a rematch with Diana Belbita, as both wanted to find their footing to kick off 2024. McCann stayed true to her aggressive style and pushed the issue from the beginning – connecting with some power strikes that got Belbita’s attention.
At the end of the round McCann took Belbita down and transitioned into a lightning quick armbar. It forced the tap the tap before the buzzer sounded to end round one and just like that, McCann was back in the win column.
It was a great win and showed how seriously McCann has worked on her game and her mentality. Attacking her weaknesses and moving to the proper weight class has McCann moving in the right direction.
Performance Of The Night: Randy Brown
Randy Brown has been looking a highlight reel knockout for quite a while, and he final got what he was looking for against Muslim Salikhov.
“Rudeboy” heard his coach point something out early in the first-round while standing across from Salikhov. He downloaded the data and waited for his chance to strike, and then landed a picture-perfect one-two down the pipe that put “The King of Kung-Fu” out of business.
Brown’s win put his win streak at two and will likely put him back in contention to fight in or near the welterweight rankings the next time he walks to the Octagon.
UFC 297: Strickland vs Du Plessis
The first pay-per-view of 2024 saw the Octagon return to Toronto for the first time since December 2018 and featured nine Canadians as well as a pair of title fights. Dricus Du Plessis became South Africa’s first champion with a split decision defeat of Sean Strickland, and Raquel Pennington outhustled Mayra Bueno Silva to claim the vacant bantamweight crown. Throughout the rest of the card, hotly contested fights decorated the card, including a meaningful featherweight contest between Movsar Evloev and a classic comeback effort from Neil Magny.
Fight of the Night: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis
South Africa got its first champion as Dricus Du Plessis battled Sean Strickland and got the split decision nod. The first round looked like a classic Strickland fight as the champ landed his jab at will, but Du Plessis saw success as well and mixed in grappling with great success. Although Du Plessis seemed to struggle finding his range, he consistently landed high kicks and body kicks until finally scoring with his hands. Eventually, Du Plessis gave Strickland a nasty cut on his left eye that seemed to bother the champion, but Strickland still bounced back to win the fifth round on all the judges’ scorecards. Du Plessis did enough, however, in the middle trio of rounds to get the decision and showed he can very much implement his awkward style at the highest level over the course of five rounds.
Performance Of The Night Bonuses
Performance Of The Night: Gillian Robertson
“Savage” put her grappling on display once again against Polyana Viana culminating in a nonstop, ground-and-pound finish in the second round. Viana had the speed advantage on the feet, but Robertson skillfully navigated the danger, changed levels and got the fight to the ground. After fishing for submissions, Robertson threw caution to the wind and unleashed an onslaught of ground strikes that earned the stoppage. The TKO was Robertson’s second, her first also coming in her native Canada at UFC 240.
Performance Of The Night: Jasmine Jasudavicius
Jasudavicius scored the first win of the night for Canada with a relentless and dominant performance ending in an anaconda choke submission in the third round over Priscila Cachoeira. In each round, Jasudavicius relatively manhandled “Zombie Girl” and breathlessly poured on the strikes. To call the fight one-way traffic is an understatement, and it was just the performance she needed after dropping her last fight. The result makes two wins in two for her in her native Canada as well.
Gross Total Revenue: USD: $7,898,695; CAD: $10,634,408 (Announced Live Gate)
Attendance: 18,559*Sold Out*
Highest grossing live event at Scotiabank Arena, UFC highest grossing arena event in Canada
UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2
UFC welcomed 2024 with an action-packed, highlight-loaded affair at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Light heavyweight contenders Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker collided to settle their score, while Jim Miller added to his record breaking UFC career against Gabriel Benitez. The card was also stacked with newcomers, prospects, and veterans trying to make good on their goals for the year.
Performance Of The Night Bonuses
Performance Of The Night: Magomed Ankalaev
Light heavyweight contenders Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker ran it back after a bizzare ending to their UFC 294 bout last year and there was nothing controversial about the way this once concluded.
In the second round Ankalaev connected with a powerful strike that sent Walker tumbling back to the Octagon fence. Ankalaev’s follow up strike was a pin-point strike that instantly damaged Walker. Referee Marc Goddard stepped in right after the strike and the score was settled.
It was a key win for Ankalaev, who is trying to reestablish himself as the next fighter to fight for the light heavyweight title held by Alex Pereira.
Performance Of The Night: Jim Miller
What else would you expect from the one and only Jim Miller than a vintage performance that was grimy and ended with his hand raised. Miller had a game opponent in Gabriel Benitez and the two weren’t afraid to stand and exchange.
After some toe-to-toe combat Miller went to his bread and butter and took the fight to ground in the third frame. Miller wrapped up Benitez neck and cranked until the vet tapped. It was Miller’s 26th UFC victory – extending his record for most UFC wins. His 18 finishes are second only to former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.
Expect to see Miller next at UFC 300, where he will completely the holy trinity of competing on UFC 100, UFC 200, and UFC 300.
Performance Of The Night: Marcus McGhee
Bantamweights need to have Marcus McGhee on the radar.
The 33-year-old who trains out of Arizona stepped up his game at UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs Walker 2 when he beat decorated striker Gaston Bolaños at his own game. McGhee stood in the center and traded strikes with Bolaños and hurt him on multiple occasions in the second round.
After softening up Bolaños even more he dropped him with a straight shot and then was on the hunt. He threw a spinning kick and then overwhelmed Bolaños with ground and pound before the ref called it.
The TKO win puts McGhee at 3-0 in the UFC and with three finishes. Big things are on the horizon for “The Maniac” in 2024.
Performance Of The Night: Brunno Ferreira
Anytime a resume shows that a fighter has a 100% finish rate, you know he’s going to bring it. You can also tell when a fighter has the nickname “The Hulk” that he’s got real power.
That’s exactly what Brunno Ferreira has shown in his UFC fights so far, and although he suffered his first professional loss before his fight with Phil Hawes, he knew he could still rely on his power. Late in the first round Ferreira landed a power shot that put Hawes out cold and put the Brazilian middleweight prospect on the map as a real threat anytime he’s wearing 4. oz gloves.
It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for him, but whatever it is, you can guarantee he’s planning on smashing all expectations.
UFC 297: Strickland vs Du Plessis took place live from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on January 20, 2024. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!