UFC 180 is underway in Mexico City, and the prelim action will feature Jessica Eye taking on Leslie Smith, as well as the bantamweight and featherweight finals for TUF Latin America.
As you likely know, the headliner will see Fabricio Werdum throw down with Mark Hunt for the interim heavyweight title.
Let’s get to the play-by-play shall we…
Gabriel Benitez vs. Humberto Brown
Both featherweights come out firing leg kicks. Brown runs in looking for a double leg but gets caught up in a guillotine choke. Brown is fighting desperately to get out and finally does…Wow. Benitez goes for the technique again but this time Brown pops his head out quickly. The latter lands a few shots from within Benitez’s guard. Benitez rolls for an armbar but can’t get it. Brown lands a few more shots after defending a triangle choke attempt. Fighters are back on their feet. Benitez takes a low blow and the action is temporarily halted. Benitez goes on the offensive, throws a knee and tries going for yet another guillotine. Round ends.
Round two: Benitez plants a few punches to begin the round. Brown counters with a body kick and then lands a hard right. Benitez takes another low blow and Brown is deducted a point. Benitez lands a thumping leg kick. Brown changes levels and shoots in on a leg. Benitez defends. Brown charges in, lands a right, and goes for Benitez’s leg. The latter breaks away from the cage but the round ends.
Round three. Benitez charges in firing, Brown clinches up, but gets caught in a choke. After a couple of seconds, Brown falls to his back, out cold. Crazy and impressive finish for Benitez!
Jessica Eye vs. Leslie Smith
Eye comes out throwing a ton of shots. Smith eats several punches but backs Eye up with a nice counter. Eye continues to fire off punches and is outscoring Smith. The high volume pace continues. As the round comes to an end, Smith’s left ear is bleeding badly.
Round two: The two clinch up briefly. Smith’s ear is still bleeding a lot. Eye continues to land crisp jabs. Referee Herb Dean brings in the doctors to look at Smith’s badly split ear. The bout is called despite Smith’s protests.
Jessica Eye def. Leslie Smith via TKO (due to doctor’s stoppage) R2, 1:30
Alejandro Perez vs. Jose Quinonez
This fight will determine the first TUF Latin America bantamweight winner. Perez throws a couple of leg kicks but Quinonez checks one. Perez shoots in for a takedown but Quinonez sprawls nicely. Perez throws another kick but Quinonez counters with a takedown. The two scramble and are back to their feet. Perez plants another hard leg kick. Quinonez lands a stiff left but takes a hard counter not long after. Perez is starting to get in the groove. Perez tags Quinonez with a right before the round ends.
Round two: Perez is still outscoring Quinonez on the feet. The two scramble after the latter throws a kick. Perez lands another hard shot. Quinonez attempts a double leg but it’s stuffed. Perez wings a hard right hand but gets countered. Quinonez runs after Perez as he back pedals big time. Perez seems fine. Quinonez attempts a high kick. Round comes to a close.
Round three: Both bantamweights come out chucking strikes. Wow. Perez lands but so does Quinonez. Perez throws Quinonez to the mat and immediately takes his back. He attempts a choke but Quinonez escapes. Perez goes for an armbar but loses position. Fantastic action. Quinonez is on top and is stuck in half guard. Quinonez moves into an arm-triangle-choke but Perez defends. Quinonez blatantly head butts Perez. Damn. Doctor is brought in to examine Perez, whose nose is bleeding as the result of the head butt. Referee John McCarthy deducts two points for the foul. Fight resumes. Quinonez lands a couple of shots and trips Perez to the mat. Quinonez attempts a guillotine choke but runs out of time.
Perez is awarded the decision and becomes the first, TUF Latin America, bantamweight winner.
Alejandro Perez def. Jose Quinonez via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 28-27)
Leonardo Morales vs. Yair Rodriguez
This scrap will crown the first, TUF Latin America featherweight winner. Morales throws a kick early on and Rodriguez counters with a flurry. Rodriguez shoots in for a takedown, and sweeps Morales down. Rodriguez takes Morales’ back in the ensuing scramble. Morales spins out but winds up in an armbar attempt. Morales pulls out and gets back to his feet. Rodriguez goes for a heel hook. The fight is momentarily stopped by referee Mario Yamasaki and the bout is re-started on its feet. Morales had been grabbing the fence. Morales plants a left but Rodriguez seems unaffected. Rodriguez throws a kick before round ends.
Round two: Rodriguez shoots in and clinches up. Rodriguez fakes a side kick and shoots in on a double. This time he gets the takedown. Morales almost gets back up but is pushed back down. Rodriguez attempts a carthwheel kick and is going for a heel hook. Now Rodriguez is targeting the arm of Morales. The latter gets back up and starts kicking the legs of Rodriguez. Morales eats an upkick, Round concludes.
Round three: Morales plants a left early on. Morales throws a follow up head kick that just grazes Rodriguez. The latter takes a low knee and the action is momentarily halted. Rodriguez takes a body kick as he attempts his own. Rodriguez flurries and now Morales takes a low blow. Fight is temporarily stopped. Rodriguez attempts a takedown but can’t get it. Rodriguez is cut above his right eye. Rodriguez throws a spinning, heel kick that’s blocked. The latter then attempts a flying knee. Morales fires a body kick. Morales follows up with an overhand left, and attempts a head kick. Final bell sounds.
Rodriguez receives the UD win and becomes the TUF Latin America featherweight winner.
Yair Rodriguez def. Leonardo Morales via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)