The Real Winners and Losers from UFC Fight Night 207
It was back-to-business time for the UFC.
Following its annual weeklong hiatus to commemorate Memorial Day, the mixed martial arts conglomerate returned to the Octagon with a 14-bout event at the Apex in Las Vegas.
The main event matched a pair of ranked heavyweights in No. 7 Alexander Volkov and No. 8 Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who were coming off losses to higher-ranked foes.
Another pair of ranked featherweights—No. 10 Dan Ige and No. 13 Movsar Evloev—participated in the co-main slot on the ESPN broadcast, which was led by Jon Anik and Paul Felder at cageside while Heidi Androl worked the rest of the room.
The B/R combat sports team was in place for the Saturday afternoon show, too, and compiled its requisite list of winners and losers. Scroll through to see what we came up with, and drop us a thought or two of your own in the comments section.
Loser: Staying the Course
The main card had featured four finishes in five fights, including three in one round.
So you couldn't blame the broadcasters, the fans or anyone else if they were hoping Volkov and Rozenstruik put in some cage time.
Herb Dean, though, was apparently ready to leave the building.
The veteran official put an abrupt end to the scheduled five-round main event when he jumped in to pull Volkov away from a stricken Rozenstruik and award him a TKO at 2:12 of Round 1.
Felder was measured in his response but didn't seem in lockstep with the quick hook.
"I'm out here. He's in there. I don't do his job, and that's his call to make," he said. "The body language [of Rozenstruik] wasn't great, but it was hard to tell for sure if he was done."
The two fighters had exchanged at long range for most of the first two minutes, with the 6'7" Volkov mixing in kicks to the legs and midsection.
He then stepped forward and landed a clean right hand that drove Rozenstruik backward and left him weak-kneed, followed with a flurry that sent the Suriname native's mouthpiece flying and continued with the volley as his opponent covered up, turned his body and attempted to escape along the fence to his left.
Dean stepped in to call a halt as Rozenstruik got to his feet, glared and shook his head, and the way Volkov approached his opponent and hugged him at least gave the impression that he understood his frustration.
"I'm very happy to get a win, and now I'm ready for my next fight and my next challenge," Volkov said. "I know that he didn’t have good defense, so I saw him go to the cage and went forward. I expected a good fight, and I'm ready for any challenges. I'm here and ready for a fight."
Winner: Divine Prognostication
Lucas Almeida took the long way to the main featherweight stage.
He was beat in an appearance on Dana White's Contender Series in September but was told by the UFC brass that he was one win from a contract offer.
So he returned to Brazil, handled a hapless foe in a regional promotion and made his way to Las Vegas with a goal to quickly make up for lost time.
It'd be hard to accomplish something more impressively.
The eight-year pro rose from a first-round knockdown and countered with one of his own in the second before delivering a decisive left hook in the third.
The sent opponent Michael Trizano twirling to the mat in highlight-reel fashion and was followed by several seconds of follow-up ground shots that brought a halt from referee Mark Smith after 55 seconds.
"I knew it was gonna be a battle," Almeida said. "I woke up this morning, and God told me it was gonna be a war and 'You're gonna knock him out.' And here it is."
It boosted him to 14-1 and prompted a forecast, too.
"Thank you, Dana White, for giving me this opportunity to be here," Almeida said. "I'm gonna clear out this division. I'm excited to be here."
Winner: A 'Killer' Debut
Poliana Botelho was only five seconds away from changing the narrative.
But that was more than enough time for "Killer" Karine Silva to get things done.
Making her UFC debut after nine years on various regional circuits, Silva scored her 11th first-round finish in 15 professional victories when she forced the veteran Botelho to tap out from a D'Arce choke at 4:55 of the first round of a three-rounder at flyweight.
It was the second D'Arce choke in UFC women's flyweight history.
It was also the sixth straight victory for the 28-year-old, who landed a powerful overhand right that wobbled Botelho and set up the decisive takedown.
Silva worked her way into finishing position by getting her right arm under Botelho's chin and closed by cinching the choke with her left arm and isolating Botelho's left leg, rendering her immobile and prompting the late-round surrender.
"I was happy before, just being here, and obviously I'm happier now," said Silva, who landed 17 significant strikes among 23 overall. "This is just another step for the future.
"I knew I'd touched her, but I didn't know how badly I'd hurt her. The plan was to go in here and touch her a little bit, and I knew if I hit her, I was going to hit her hard and knock her down."
Winner: Jamaican Sensations
Ode' Osbourne was a man looking for a home.
So as the Jamaican-born flyweight moved from his native country to training camps in New York, Florida and Wisconsin, he never felt completely comfortable.
The bad news for the 125-pounders?
Las Vegas appears to be a perfect fit.
Osbourne scored a second straight impressive win since heading cross-country to the Nevada desert, rendering aggressive foe Zarrukh Adashev semi-conscious with a single right-hand shot and ending matters in just 61 seconds of a scheduled three-rounder.
It was the sixth-fastest finish in UFC men's flyweight history and came when Osbourne countered an Adashev charge with a precise overhand right that landed square on the jaw and sent the Uzbek veteran to the mat. A handful of follow-up shots forced the hand of referee Keith Peterson and predictably sent the charismatic Osbourne to celebrating.
"We prepped that. Being calm. Being patient," he said. "I hadn’t been able to find my stride, but moving out here has really put me in an amazing camp. It’s been good."
The two-fight streak is Osbourne's first since arriving to the UFC with an appearance on Dana White's Contender Series in 2019 and improved him to 11-4 as a pro since 2015.
"He was a Glory Kickboxing champ, so I couldn’t be clean. He's used to clean technical combos coming at him," he said. "I had to do something athletic."
Loser: Sentimental Journeys
Askar Mozharov had sentiment on his side,
The 27-year-old was making his UFC debut after 18 months on the MMA shelf and got a pre-fight pop that chronicled the strife his family was facing back home in his native Ukraine.
But Alonzo Menifield wasn't moved.
The muscular Texas-based light heavyweight came out swinging from the outset, got his man to the mat quickly and punished him throughout on the way to a first-round stoppage.
The official end came at 4:40 of the first round when referee Dean stepped in, following a prolonged stretch in which Menifield locked his man into a crucifix position and pummeled him with an unfettered fusillade of elbows.
The fighters exchanged glares and had just a cursory glove tap when the result was read, and Menifield told Felder that his empathy for Ukraine stopped at the cage door.
"I know he's from Ukraine. I feel for them and for this guy, but he’s here," Menifield said. "It just made me furious. I knew he was going to come out swinging like a crazy person, so I said 'Why not? Let's do MMA.' So I took him down and I beat the crap out of him.
"This is everything for me. You come in here and this is what I'm gonna give you."
UFC Fight Night 207 Full Card Results
Alexander Volkov def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by TKO (punches), 2:12, Round 1
Movsar Evloev def. Dan Ige by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Lucas Almeida def. Michael Trizano by TKO (punches), 0:55, Round 3
Karine Silva def. Poliana Botelho by submission (d'arce choke), 4:55, Round 1
Ode' Osbourne def. Zarrukh Adashev by TKO (punches), 1:01, Round 1
Alonzo Menifield def. Askar Mozharov by TKO (elbows), 4:40, Round 1
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Felice Herrig by submission (rear-naked choke), 4:01, Round 2
Joe Solecki def. Alex Da Silva by majority decision (28-28, 28-27, 29-27)
Damon Jackson def. Dan Argueta by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Benoit Saint Denis def. Niklas Stolze by submission (rear-naked choke), 1:32, Round 2
Tony Gravely def. Johnny Munoz by KO (punch), 1:08, Round 1
Jeff Molina def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Rinat Fakhretdinov def. Andreas Michailidis by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Erin Blanchfield def. JJ Aldrich by submission (guillotine choke), 2:38, Round 2