LONDON -- Rising light heavyweight Dominick Reyes (11-0) kept his perfect record intact, barely, by defeating Volkan Oezdemir (15-4) via split decision. Two judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Reyes, while a third saw it 29-28 for Oezdemir.
The 205-pound contest was quite back and forth. Reyes, of Victorville, California, got off to a good start with leg kicks, but Oezdemir responded with strong forward pressure and boxing combinations. Just when it appeared Oezdemir's pressure was starting to get to Reyes, however, Reyes utilized head and foot movement to reset that distance, and popped Oezdemir with punches from the outside. It was a very close bout, and only the third time Reyes has went the distance in his career.
After the result, Reyes warned defending champion Jon Jones, "I am coming for you." It's unlikely Reyes would jump to the front of the line, but he is now a perfect 5-0 in the UFC.
London native Nathaniel Wood (16-3) realized a lifelong dream, as he submitted Jose Quinonez (7-3) in the second round of a bantamweight fight in his hometown venue of O2 Arena. Wood attended a UFC fight years ago as a fan, to catch a glimpse of now-retired veteran Brad Pickett. Pickett is now Wood's head coach.
Wood, 25, looked sensational bell to bell. He surrendered a takedown early, but quickly reversed the position and got back to his feet. Midway through the first round, he nearly locked in a D'Arce choke after hurting Quinonez on the feet. The finish came at the 2:46 mark via rear-naked choke.
It is Wood's fifth win by submission. All three of his victories in the UFC have come via submission.
Brazilian welterweight Claudio da Silva (13-1) continued his climb up the welterweight rankings with a third-round submission against Danny Roberts (16-4). The finish came at 2:37 of the third round, via armbar. It was somewhat controversial, as the referee stopped the bout due to a verbal tap from Roberts. Roberts immediately contested the stoppage.
Da Silva, 36, controlled the majority of the bout with his grappling, and threatened to submit Roberts via arm-triangle in the first and second rounds. Roberts, of Liverpool, refused to go quietly, however, and nearly turned the tide with a monster left hand in the third round. The punch dropped da Silva to the canvas, and Roberts made a questionable decision to follow him there. Da Silva locked in the armbar from the ground. It is his 13th consecutive win, four of which have come in the UFC.
Welsh middleweight Jack Marshman (23-8) took home a split decision win against John Phillips (21-9), via judges scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29.
The English crowd booed Marshman's effort, as he implemented a cautious game plan of circling around the perimeter of the Octagon. His counter boxing scored points with the judges, but it made for a bit of a slow bout. At one point, Phillips pointed to the center of the cage and waved for Marshman to meet him there, but the offer was refused.
Marshman did not apologize for the performance, and said it would have been foolish for him to stand and trade with a power-puncher like Phillips. He snaps a two-fight skid with the victory and is now 3-3 in the UFC.
Reyes extends winning streak by split decision
Dominick Reyes goes the distance with Volkan Oezdemir and wins by split decision, extending his winning streak to five straight.
Arnold Allen led the dance the whole way in winning his seventh fight in a row, with five of those wins coming in the UFC. The British featherweight never put Jordan Rinaldi in dire straits but stalked him throughout, earning the nod from all three judges: 30-26, 30-27 and 29-28.
Allen (14-1), who fights out of Suffolk, England, and is one of the top MMA prospects in the U.K, fought a smart fight in never letting Rinaldo (14-7) get going.
Marshman wins split decision vs. Phillips
Jack Marshman ends a two-fight losing streak with a split-decision win over John Phillips.
At the conclusion of this lightweight bout, Marc Diakese was crumbled against the cage in tears. It meant that much to him that he had just ended a three-fight losing streak by breaking down Joe Duffy with a relentless stream of kicks, punches and elbows over three rounds for the unanimous decision.
Diakiese (13-3), a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who fights out of Doncaster, England, immobilized the Irishman with kicks to the left calf, then used fluid movement and creative striking to pepper him and even wobble him at times. All three judges scored the bout 30-27, as Duffy (16-4) lost his second straight.
Allen hyped after fifth straight win
Arnold Allen beats Jordan Rinaldi via unanimous decision to run his win streak to five in a row.
Saparbek Safarov put on a brutally dominant performance to end a two-fight losing streak and earn his first UFC victory, smothering and mauling promotional debutante Nico Negumereanu for three rounds and getting the nod from all three judges.
The Russian light heavyweight (9-2) had a point deducted in the first round after grabbing the cage so many times that it's doubtful even our esteemed colleagues at ESPN Stats & Info could count up all the rule violations. The scorecards thus read 29-26, 29-26 and 29-27, as Negumereanu fell to 9-1.
Diakiese tops Duffy by decision
Marc Diakiese snaps a three-fight losing streak by defeating Joe Duffy via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night.
Dan Ige wasted no time in winning for the third straight bout, dropping Scotland's Danny Henry with a lightning left hook in one of their first exchanges, then swarming on him against the cage and efficiently sinking in a rear-naked choke to get the finish just 1:17 into their fight.
The 27-year-old Hawaiian is 11-2, while Henry dropped to 12-3 and saw a five-fight win streak come to a halt.
Safarov wins despite point deduction
Saparbek Safarov has a point taken away from grabbing the cage, but rolls to victory by unanimous decision.
Priscila Cachoeira kept walking forward, and Molly McCann kept hitting her, over and over, beating the Brazilian to the punch -- with one nearly game-changing exception -- on her way to a decision win.
That pivotal exception was a third-round right hand by Cachoeira (8-2) that left the flyweight from Liverpool with a grotesquely swollen-shut left eye. The referee halted the bout with 47 seconds left for the cageside doctor to take a look, but McCann (8-2) was deemed OK to finish, which allowed her to become the first English female to win in the Octagon.
McCann defeats Cachoeira by unanimous decision
Molly McCann goes the distance with Priscila Cachoeira and wins by unanimous decision.
Mike Grundy treated early-arriving fans to an explosive finish in a back-and-forth show opener between all-action British featherweights, coming back from being wobbled to win his UFC debut. Following a brief stumble after being clipped midway through the second round, Grundy (12-1) regained his composure and hurt Nad Narimani with an overhand right, then pursued him around the Octagon and peppered him with shots until Narimani (12-3) could no longer defend himself and the referee jumped in at 4:42.
Still to come ...