UFC returned to ABC on the 16th of July with an event that took place at the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. The card was headlined by two all-action fighters looking to climb the rankings of the UFC's stacked Featherweight division. Let's take a look at how the card panned out.
It was an unfortunate ending to this highly anticipated Featherweight clash when late into the first round Brian Ortega dislocated his right shoulder. The bout was action-packed from the word go, with Rodriguez landing a variety of strikes at a fairly high rate. Ortega's legendary chin was holding up well though, as he looked to put the pressure on the Mexican striking standout. Around the four-minute mark of round one, "T-City" finally secured the takedown that he had been looking for. As soon as "El Pantera" hit the canvas, he cinched up a semi-tight armbar. Ortega quickly addressed the submission attempt by yanking out his trapped arm, however, after escaping he immediately collapsed back to the ground in agony while holding his right shoulder. Rodriguez, seeing the defenseless Ortega wincing in pain, withheld any follow-up strikes and the contest was mercifully called off.
It was smooth sailing for Amanda Lemos when she snatched up her first submission victory since 2019. After struggling to find her range on the feet, Waterson managed to secure a takedown late into round one. Waterson seemed to have some good top pressure, but eventually, Lemos was able to get the fight back to the standing position. Once back up, the feeling-out process began to fade and Lemos started putting together some good boxing combinations that seemed to be flustering "The Karate Hottie". In round two, Waterson again went to the well for a takedown attempt, only this time she was met with a tight arm-in guillotine choke. After a few moments of struggle, Lemos felt a tap and released the choke. The bout ended one minute and forty-eight seconds into round number two.
Li Jingliang made a triumphant return to the octagon by scoring an impressive KO/TKO finish over "The King of Kung Fu". Round one was a little bit rocky for "The Leech", as Salikhov landed a couple of beautiful slams by catching the kicks of Jingliang. After spending much of the first round on the defense, Jingliang was much more aggressive and seemingly confident in the second stanza. Eventually, "The Leech" landed a well-timed right hand that hurt the Salikhov. Jingliang wasted no time and polished off the Russian with some vicious elbows to score a late second-round finish. This finish marks eight KO/TKO stoppage victories for the Chinese Welterweight under the UFC's banner.
Matt Schnell displayed an indescribable amount of grit and determination to pull off a come-from-behind victory. The fight started off fairly typical, with Schnell walking down Mudaerji and looking to take the fight to the ground. The second round, however, was far from conventional. Su Mudaerji seemed like he couldn't miss, as he wobbled Matt Schnell an astonishing six times with a series of left hands and elbows on the feet. "Danger" couldn't be bothered though, as he lived up to his nickname by staying in the fight, never letting off the gas, and showcasing the inner "dog" within him. Mudaerji eventually started to look a little worse for the wear, as he gassed himself out trying to put away his inhumanly tough opponent and eventually Schnell landed a double leg takedown to get the fight to the ground. From there, Schnell passed to mount and Mudaerji rolled into a deep triangle choke that sealed his fate four minutes and twenty-four seconds into round number two.
Fans were excited when these two fan-friendly Featherweights were paired together and they did not disappoint. The bout was extremely closely contested, with Burgos seemingly having the edge in the grappling department and Jourdain having a slight edge in the striking. Large portions of this contest were spent with "Hurricane" on the back of Jourdain with a fully locked body triangle. On the feet, Jourdain tried to even out the rounds as much as possible with his boxing. Ultimately, rounds two and three were pretty clear cut, and who you scored the fight for came down to the first round. At the end of the day, Shane Burgos walked away with a Majority Decision Victory.
Lauren Murphy made a statement with her victory over former Bantamweight Champion Meisha Tate. From the start of the fight, it seemed like Murphy was always one step ahead of Tate. On the feet, Murphy landed more often and with more authority. In the clinch, Tate had some success, however, it was short-lived as Murphy looked to disengage and even wrestle with Tate. "Lucky" surprisingly landed several takedowns on the former wrestling stand-out. By the second round, Tate was bruised and bloody, and that was only exacerbated as the clock ran down. At the end of the bout, Lauren Murphy was rewarded with a clear-cut unanimous decision victory on all three judges' scorecards.
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