HEAVYWEIGHT SLAM 💥
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma)
August 21, 2022
Marcin Tybura sent a message to the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight division by defeating Alexander Romanov in the featured UFC 278 prelim.
Romanov (16-1) wasted no time clinching with Tybura (23-7) seconds into the fight. Landing damaging knees, Romanov would then slam the 252-pound fighter like it was nothing. Romanov would begin landing stellar punches and elbows that put an exclamation mark on a dominant Round 1. Tybura would fare much better as the fight went on as Romanov slowed down, and even managed to take his opponent’s back briefly in the second round. Embarrassingly, Romanov would showboat in Round 3 despite being outstruck.
The judges awarded the fight to Tybura via majority decision as one judge had a 28-28 draw while the other two had it 29-28 Tybura.
Gordon Decisions Santos
Leonardo Santos showed his age against Jared Gordon.
Gordon (19-5) was able to keep the Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend standing during the first frame and controlled the action. Santos (18-6-1) was almost able to get the fight to the ground in the second round, but several fence grabs by Gordon kept him upright. Gordon would cruise to a unanimous decision win in Round 3 as Santos was unable to muster a comeback at 42 years old.
“Flash” has now won four of his last five fights.
Saldana Draws With Woodson
Featherweights Sean Woodson and Luis Saldana had a wild fight filled with exotic submission attempts and an illegal knee.
Midway through the first round, a gorgeous left hook by Saldana (16-7-1) would badly rock Woodson (9-1-1). After knocking Woodson down with a jab, Saldana would blatantly land an illegal knee on the downed opponent. After referee Mike Beltran paused the fight to the crowd, Saldana celebrated as if he won before getting a point taken away. Woodson would continue fighting, edging out the second round with a buggy choke submission attempt, and then the final frame was a messy stand-up affair as both fighters were tired.
After 15 minutes, the judges scored the fight 29-27 Woodson, 29-27 Saldana and 28-28 for a split draw.
Loosa Outlasts Fletcher
The card’s first welterweight contest saw AJ Fletcher test his skills against Ange Loosa.
It was likely a must-win fight for Loosa (9-3), who was happy to fight in close and was looking to damage Fletcher to the body. Landing solid hooks, Loosa was able to bloody the face of Fletcher (9-2), who was just a step behind on the feet early on. However, Fletcher was able to badly hurt Loosa in the second round with an onslaught of punches and elbows that left both men exhausted. Despite the beating he sustained in Round 2, Loosa was the fresher fighter in the final frame and easily took control, landing solid elbows on the ground until the fight expired.
Loosa took a unanimous decision win with scores of 29-27, 29-28 and 29-28 in his favor.
Albazi Taps Figueiredo
Amir Albazi made his point in a showcase fight against Francisco Figueiredo.
Albazi (15-1) was in full control the entire fight, getting a nice takedown early on. After taking the back of Figueiredo (13-4-1), Albazi locked in a rear-naked choke for the win. The tap officially came at 4:34 of Round 1.
Albazi has now won four straight fights and is 3-0 inside the Octagon.
Aori Outstrikes Perrin
The first bantamweight bout of the night saw Qileng Aori take on Jay Perrin.
The “Mongolian Murderer” lived up to his nickname as he outstruck Perrin (10-6) with sharp punches to win the first round. Aori (24-9) would mix up his attack with jumping knees, but “The Joker” would secure a takedown in Round 2 to show off his superior ground game. However, Perrin couldn’t keep his opponent down and Aori would continue scoring for the rest of the bout with elbows and punches. Perrin would rally late, hurting Aori with a wild flurry as the fight expired.
After 15 minutes, Aori would take a unanimous decision with three scorecards of 29-28 in his favor.
Altamirano Pounds Out Lacerda
The opening flyweight contest between Daniel Lacerda and Victor Altamirano was an exciting back-and-forth affair.
It was Lacerda (11-4) that showed off some impressive striking early on, scoring with punches and even a spinning back fist. However, Altamirano (11-2) would show heart and get back into the fight by flooring Lacerda with a knee to the body. Once it was on the ground, Altamirano unloaded punishing punches until the fight was stopped.
The TKO victory for Altamirano officially came at 3:39.