Maycee Barber snapped a two-fight losing streak Saturday night, and now she is looking for bigger opportunities.
The No. 14-rated flyweight handed Miranda Maverick her first UFC loss with a split decision victory in a clash between two of the youngest females on the UFC roster. One judge scored it for the 24-year-old Maverick, 29-28, while the other two had it 29-28 in favor of the 23-year-old Barber. It was a key undercard bout on UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw from Las Vegas.
"Jessica Eye is No. 8, so I would like that fight," Barber said.
"I want to take that No. 8 spot."
Barber closed strong, clearly grabbing the pivotal third round with a takedown followed by a crushing right hand, but she appeared to lose the first two rounds. All three judges scored the first round for Maverick and the third for Barber.
Barber, who fights out of Sacramento, is the first woman in UFC history to win a fight by decision in which she landed fewer than 40 total strikes and was outstruck by at least 40 total strikes, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.
Maverick, who fights out of Norfolk, Virginia, entered the fight 2-0 in the UFC. Barber, who was a slight underdog, is now 3-3 in the Octagon.
"I definitely know that the clinch obviously was a big key in [the scoring], being on the cage, having that pressure up against the cage," Barber said. "And then also some of the strikes off of the clinch.
Live odds for maverick vs barber at the end of the fight was -1200 maverick! She lost wow— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) July 25, 2021
"I knew that I had the better of the grappling, especially in the clinch."
-- Mike Coppinger
Any questions about TJ Dillashaw's standing in the bantamweight division after a long layoff have been answered -- emphatically.
Dillashaw, the former two-time UFC bantamweight champion, defeated Sandhagen via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) in a bloody, back-and-forth war on Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
Sandhagen opened up a nasty cut between Dillashaw's right eye and nose -- an area that Dillashaw dealt with cuts during his training camp -- but he still gutted it out over five rounds.
-- Marc Raimondi
Paiva pulled off the upset with a majority decision victory over Phillips in a wild brawl from horn to horn.
One judge scored it even, 28-28, overruled by tallies of 29-28 and 29-28 for Paiva, who is now riding a three-fight winning streak after beginning his UFC career 0-2.
"I didn't come to America to play games," said Paiva, a 25-year-old Brazilian fighter. "I'm focused on being a world champion, and that's what I'm going to do."
This feels like the fight of the night! #UFCVegas32— Steve-O (@steveo) July 25, 2021
Paiva entered the fight unranked, but he has now knocked off the UFC's No. 14 fighter at 135 pounds, setting himself up nicely in the stacked bantamweight division.
Phillips, 26, dropped Paiva several times in the opening round and almost finished his foe; time expired in Round 1 as Phillips furiously pushed for the stoppage in ground-and-pound.
Paiva stormed back in Round 2 with a knockdown of his own, and he too pressed for the finish in a wild fight that featured numerous momentum shifts.
Phillips, who fights out of Arizona, entered the fight 3-0 in the UFC and was nearly a 3-1 favorite to remain unbeaten.
This was a textbook Elkins performance.
Minner battered Elkins in the first round, opened up cuts on Elkins' face and basically won every aspect of MMA. But that never lasts long against Elkins, one of the most durable, crafty veterans in the world. Elkins, blood covering his face, rallied with his pressure and heart, finishing Minner via TKO at 3:48 of the second round.
Elkins has the second-most wins in UFC featherweight history at 15, behind only former champion Max Holloway (17).
"That's what I'm built for," Elkins said in his postfight interview. "I'm built different. Some of these guys have all the athleticism in the world. I'm tough, and I just keep coming."
Elkins in relentless!!!— Jared Gordon (@JFlashGordonMMA) July 25, 2021
Elkins is known for his grappling, but Minner actually got the better positions and outscrambled Elkins in the first round. At one point, Minner threatened with an armbar and then landed ground and pound with punches and elbows. Elkins' face was marked up badly after the first round.
None of that mattered. After weathering some Minner grappling early in the second round, Elkins turned it around on the ground -- as he does. Elkins outscrambled Minner, got into a mounted crucifix and rained down blows until referee Mark Smith stepped in to call it. Elkins outstruck Minner, 94-0, in the second round.
Elkins, 37, has won two straight following a four-fight losing streak. The Indiana native, who fights out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, has won eight of 12 fights overall. Minner, a 31-year-old Nebraska native, had a two-fight winning streak snapped.
Adrian Yanez stuns Randy Costa with Round 2 TKO
Adrian Yanez forces the referee to stop the fight after pummeling Randy Costa with punches late in Round 2.
Costa started things off, and Yanez finished them. With a flourish.
After getting outboxed in the first round by the lankier Costa, Yanez worked his hands in the second round and unloaded a combination, culminating in an uppercut that put Costa on the mat. Yanez continued the flurry with Costa on the ground until referee Chris Tognoni stepped in to stop the action at 2:11 of the second. The official ruling was TKO.
Omg @yanezmma way to stay strong and come back. Sick fight— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) July 24, 2021
Costa clearly won the first round. He used his range and kicking game to keep Yanez at bay, then worked a beautiful jab. Yanez was badly bloodied before the end of the first. Costa even landed a couple of head kicks. But Yanez was durable, capitalized off a potential adrenaline dump from Costa and let his hands go in the second. Body shots set up the uppercut and surely helped drain Costa.
"I started off way too slow and, man, he came out fast," Yanez said in his postfight interview. "I just wasn't ready for that.
"The first round, I expected it to be a war, but he really outclassed me with that jab."
Yanez, 27, has won seven straight, including his first three in the UFC. The Texas native has finished four in a row via TKO -- his first three in the UFC and his Dana White's Contender Series bout that earned him a spot on the roster. Yanez is the first male UFC fighter to win his first three bouts in the promotion by knockout at bantamweight or lighter, per ESPN Stats & Info. Costa, a 27-year-old Massachusetts native, had a two-fight winning streak snapped.
Allen handed Soriano his first career defeat in a battle of Dana White's Contender Series alums -- a unanimous decision victory via scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27. The middleweight fight was the lone matchup with pick 'em odds on the card, and it was punctuated throughout by Allen's brutal body kicks.
The 25-year-old Allen targeted Soriano's left rib cage, landing 18 of 22 body strikes in Round 2. Soriano charged hard in the opening round but was stymied by the attack to the midsection.
"My coach said keep going to it, so I keep going to it," Allen said of his focus on Soriano's body. "Everyone knows who I wanna fight ... win or lose, I want to fight ... Sean Strickland for sure."
Allen's lone UFC defeat came to Strickland in November, a second-round TKO. Strickland will fight Uriah Hall in the UFC fight night main event on July 31.
Soriano (8-1), who fights out of Las Vegas, had never been past the second round in the UFC, and he posted two first-round finishes after winning his way into the UFC: a KO of Oskar Piechota in December 2019 and a TKO of Dusko Todorovic in January.
Allen, a native of Beaufort, South Carolina, debuted in the Octagon with a second-round rear-naked choke victory over Kevin Holland in 2019. Now, he hopes for a chance at avenging his only UFC loss.
The UFC has been trying to break into France, and Imavov is one of the fighters with the most promise who are fighting out of that country.
Imavov finished durable veteran Heinisch via TKO at 3:09 of the second round, after a flurry of punches and a knee to the head in a clinch against the cage. The sequence started with Imavov landing a hard left hand that wobbled Heinisch.
The striking of Imavov was the story of the fight. He looked very smooth on the feet, popping Heinisch with jab after jab, opening cuts on his face. Heinisch was firing back with calf kicks and takedown attempts, but Imavov weathered those techniques.
"Give me a top 10," Imavov said afterward through a translator.
Imavov, 25, is now 2-1 in the UFC and looking like a fearsome prospect in the middleweight division. The Dagestan native has won seven of his past eight fights. He trains out of the MMA Factory in France, alongside top heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane. Heinisch, a 32-year-old Denver native, has dropped four of five.
Mickey Gall submits Jordan Williams via rear-naked choke
Mickey Gall returns to the Octagon and finishes Jordan Williams in Round 1 with a beautifully executed rear-naked choke.
Gall, who entered a loser of three of his past five appearances in the Octagon, scored an impressive victory over Williams with a first-round tapout via rear-naked choke at 2:57 of Round 1.
The 29-year-old floored Williams in the opening minute with a right hand and moments later was able to grab Williams' back.
"I had a lot of urgency this camp," said Gall, whose five submission wins -- all by rear-naked-choke -- are second-most in UFC welterweight history, behind Demian Maia's six. For context, Maia has done that in 20 UFC fights at welterweight, while Gall has just nine.
Williams (0-2 UFC), who fights out of Santa Rosa, California, was a -180 favorite but never mounted any offense. The 30-year-old, who was featured in Dana White's Contender Series in 2020, dropped a decision to Nassourdine Imavov in October.
Gall (6-3 UFC), a Green Brook, New Jersey, native, was coming off a decision loss to Mike Perry in June 2020.
Fighting at bantamweight for the first time in five years, Arce looked as good as ever.
Arce stopped Ewell via TKO at 3:45 of the second round with a huge flurry of punches. Ewell was never dropped, but referee Chris Tognoni clearly felt he was compromised to the point where the fight had to be ended.
Arce's boxing looked solid in the first round, and he really let his hands go in the second. Ewell was able to land, as well, opening up a cut in the second to the side of Arce's right eye. Arce's left hand from the southpaw stance was the difference, doing damage every time it landed.
Arce, 31, is 2-2 in his past four fights. The New York native owns a win over featherweight contender Dan Ige. Ewell, a 33-year-old California native, has dropped two in a row.
Eubanks made quick work of Reed, forcing the referee to intervene at 3:49 of the opening round.
Eubanks' strikes completely closed Reed's right eye, and she finished Reed from a ground-and-pound position following an onslaught of punches and elbows. Eubanks connected on 19 of 34 ground strikes. Reed didn't so much as attempt a strike from her back.
The victory, Eubanks' first finish in nine UFC fights, marked her return to 125 pounds. Eubanks, 36, owns a win over Lauren Murphy, who meets Valentina Shevchenko for the UFC flyweight title at UFC 266. Eubanks' third consecutive victory is tied for third-longest active win streak in the division. Eubanks and Reed both fight out of New Jersey.
Belbita and her right hand are a dangerous addition to the UFC strawweight division.
In an impressive performance, Belbita dropped Goldy in the first round and rocked her in the third with right crosses en route to a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) win to open UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw. Belbita nearly finished Goldy in the first round before getting taken down. Goldy was able to take Belbita down late in the third again and land huge elbows. But Belbita survived and prevailed.
Belbita, 25, was making her debut at strawweight after moving down from flyweight. The Romania native, who fights out of Canada, snapped a two-fight losing streak. Goldy, a 29-year-old fighting out of Florida, has dropped her first two UFC fights after earning her way into the promotion on Dana White's Contender Series in 2018.