UFC broke ground in Chile last Saturday night with a card filled with Latin American fighters making their presence known in their respective divisions.
The main event between Demian Maia and Kamaru Usman promised so much action but delivered very little. Usman played it very cautious and perhaps to his credit, played out a very smart game plan against one of the UFC’s most dangerous ground game specialists. It was a tight affair with neither fighter getting anything of note going. Usman did look to hurt Maia in the 4th but rested on his laurels and allowed the Brazilian to recover. Usman announced to the crowd afterwards that his right hand was broken and as a result he couldn’t throw it with too much conviction.
In the evening’s co-main event of the evening, unbeaten Tatiana Suarez (7-0) continued her winning ways against Mexico’s Alexa Grasso with a big submission win. Having secured the takedown early doors, Suarez imposed her will against Grasso who couldn’t fight her way out of danger and found herself giving up her back. Suarez sunk in deep hooks and managed to sink in a very tight rear naked choke against the fence.
Dominick Reyes (9-0) remains unbeaten at light heavyweight as he dispatched Jared Cannonier inside the first five minutes of their light heavyweight clash. Reyes had pushed the pace from the off and Cannonier couldn’t match the volume he was receiving and it was a sneaky left uppercut that caught Cannonier and Marc Goddard called an immediate stop to proceedings as he crashed to the canvas.
The only Chilean fighter on the card, Diego Rivas fell short in a tough fight against Argentinian Guido Canetti. The Chilean went down 29-28 across all three score cards and the Chilean crowd were incensed during the post-fight interview.
Poliana Botelho (7-1) put the strawweight division on notice with a quick stoppage of Japanese opponent Syuri Kondo inside one minute of the very first round. Botelho landed a crunching left body kick that crumpled Kondo to the canvas and what followed from there was a series of fight ending punches that put a stop to a very quick and impressive performance. Following the fight, Botelho called for a ranked fighter and after an outing like that, it would be very difficult to deny her that particular request.
Gabriel Benitez moved to (21-7) after securing a very quick finish over Humberto Bandenay. Having came out with a bang, Benitez landed early and dropped Bandenay to the mat. Bandenay threw his legs up instantly and seemed to almost secure an arm triangle but a big slam from Benitez caused him to break free and land a huge left punch that sent Humberto out and referee Osiris Maia had no choice but to call a halt to the contest.
In early action, Claudio Puelles came from behind to beat Felipe Silva via kneebar late in round 3 having absorbed huge shots prior to the finish. Referee Osiris Maia controversially allowed the action to continue when it looked like Puelles was not intelligently defending himself under a barrage of punches. Maia will certainly feel vindicated in his decision to allow the fight to continue but it was quite strange to see the bout continue in the manner it did.
Kamaru Usman def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
Tatiana Suarez def. Alexa Grasso via submission (rear naked choke) – 2:44, Round 1
Dominick Reyes def. Jared Cannonier via TKO (punch) – 2:55, Round 1
Andrea Lee def. Veronica Macedo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Guido Cannetti def. Diego Rivas via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Vicente Luque def. Chad Laprise via KO (punches) – 4:16, Round 1
Michel Prazeres def. Zak Cummings via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Alexandre Pantoja def. Brandon Moreno via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-36, 29-27)
Poliana Botelho def. Syuri Kondo via TKO (body kick and punches) – 0:33, Round 1
Gabriel Benitez def. Humberto Bandenay via KO (punch) – 0:39, Round 1
Enrique Barzola def. Brandon Davis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Frankie Saenz def. Henry Briones via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Claudio Puelles def. Felipe Silva via submission (kneebar) – 2:23, Round 3