UFC on ESPN+ 41: Thompson vs. Neal Live Coverage

UFC will cap off their 2020 calendar with a 12-fight card on Saturday night. Headlining the show from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, will be a welterweight bout between Stephen Thompson and rising contender Geoff Neal.

Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage of the event.

A full preview of the card can be viewed here.

Preliminary Card (4:00PM EST / 1:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)

Bout 1: Christos Giagos def. Carlton Minus via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 2: Jimmy Flick def. Cody Durden via Submission, Triangle Choke (RD 1, 3:18)

Bout 3: Tafon Nchukwi def. Jamie Pickett via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 4: Taila Santos def. Gillian Robertson via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 5: Deron Winn def. Antonio Arroyo via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 6: Pannie Kianzad def. Sijara Eubanks via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 7: Anthony Pettis def. Alex Morono via Decision, Unanimous

Main Card (7:00PM EST / 4:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)

Bout 8: Marcin Tybura def. Greg Hardy via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:31)

Bout 9: Rob Font def. Marlon Moraes via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:47)

Bout 10: Michel Pereira def. Khaos Williams via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 11: Jose Aldo def. Marlon Vera via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 12: Stephen Thompson def. Geoff Neal via Decision, Unanimous

Live Coverage:

Bout 12: Stephen Thompson (15-4-1) vs. Geoff Neal (13-2) (Welterweight)

Thompson Wins In Return, Wins All Rounds Against Neal

Stephen Thompson put together a striking clinic in the main event, winning via unanimous decision against Geoff Neal. Thompson’s five-round performance earned him all five rounds on every judge’s scorecard.

Thompson was able to manage the distance during the fight, consistently connecting with jabs, straight punches and kicks. Neal’s best moments was when he was able to close the distance to land shots or clinch with Thompson.

The fight was Thompson’s first fight in a year. Before his hiatus through most of 2020, Thompson’s most recent win was a decision win against Vicente Luque.

“Just glad to be back,” said Thompson in his post-fight interview.

Thompson seemingly had an injured right leg heading into the final round, although it was something that didn’t greatly stop him.

“Couldn’t straighten it out for some reason, [my leg] just felt really tight,” said Thompson afterwards.

The fight was the biggest fight of Neal’s career so far, as it was his first five-round UFC bout and against a former title challenger. Prior to Saturday, Neal had an undefeated UFC record of five-straight wins prior to Saturday.

Thompson versus Neal play-by-play.

Bout 11: Jose Aldo (28-7) vs. Marlon Vera (18-6-1) (Bantamweight)

Aldo Defeats Vera To Earn First Bantamweight Win, End Losing Streak

Jose Aldo snapped a three-fight skid in Saturday’s co-main event, showing his striking and grappling skills when defeating Marlon Vera. The win was his first since moving down to bantamweight in 2019.

Aldo opened the fight with a strong first round, landing damaging hooks to the body and leg kicks.

Vera showed his skills in the clinch during the second round, putting together knees and punches while in the position.

Aldo’s most one-sided round was the final, where he spent the majority of the time on Vera’s back. Mounting his back early in the round, Aldo stayed on Vera’s back as he went down, got up and then went back to the ground.

Aldo called out former champion TJ Dillashaw in his post-fight interview.

Aldo’s previous fight was a title shot, where he was stopped in the fifth round by Petr Yan in July.

Vera entered the fight after a win over Sean O’Malley, stopping the then-undefeated prospect after an injury hurt him.

Aldo versus Vera play-by-play.

Bout 10: Michel Pereira (24-11) vs. Khaos Williams (11-1) (Welterweight)

Pereira Earns Decision Win, Gives Williams First UFC Loss

Michel Pereira earned a decision win against Khaos Williams on Saturday night, handing the flashy welterweight his first loss since joining the UFC early in the year.

The close fight saw the fighters engage in back-and-forth exchanges on the feet throughout. Pereira’s was able to give himself an edge late in the fight by scoring takedowns and landing strikes on the ground.

All judges gave Williams at least one round.

The fight was billed as a chaotic collision between two powerful fighters. What was produced was a more longer and methodical peformance than what some could have expected.

Williams entered the fight after being known for stopping both Alex Morono and Abdul Razak Alhassan within a minute.

Pereira was known for his explosive power as well as his unconventional dancing and moves during his fights. Despite an odd kick late in the fight, Pereira put together a much more conventional fight than usual.

After his win, Pereira called out Anthony Pettis, who won earlier in the night.

“I win, you win,” said Pereira to Pettis.

Pereira won his previous fight, defeating Zelim Imadaev in September.

Pereira versus Williams play-by-play.

Bout 9: Marlon Moraes (23-7-1) vs. Rob Font (17-4) (Bantamweight)

Font Stops Moraes With Big Fists, Extends Win Streak To Three Fights

Rob Font won in his return to action on Saturday, stopping Marlon Moraes within a round after putting together quick punches. Font dropped Moraes late in the round with an uppercut after putting together numerous shots before. Font landed some punches on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.

Moraes had success early in the round, taking Font down and having the better positions. Font was able to take control once the fight went back to the feet.

The fight was Font’s return to action after a year outside of competition.

“It’s been a long time man, a long year sitting around,” said Font, who admitted he was emotional in his post-fight interview.

His previous win was in December of 2019 where he defeated Ricky Simon on scorecards. Font has now won his last three bouts.

Moraes lost a main event fight in his previous appearance, being stopped by a spinning back kick from Cory Sandhagen in the second round of action.

Font versus Moraes play-by-play.

Bout 8: Marcin Tybura (20-6) vs. Greg Hardy (7-2) (Heavyweight)

Tybura Takes Hardy Down, Ends Fight In Second Round

Marcin Tybura used strong ground and pound to stop Greg Hardy in the second round of action, prevailing after a tough first round. The fight was Tybura’s fourth win in the year, making him one of the only UFC fighters to attain that many victories within a calendar year.

Tybura was able to finish the fight after scoring his sole takedown in the second round. Hardy covered up while Tybura landed punches from half guard, causing the fight to end.

Tybura struggled earlier in the fight as Hardy was doing better during exchanges on the feet.

Tybura’s three other wins in the year were all via decision, defeating Serghei Spivac, Maxim Grishin and Ben Rothwell.

The loss for Hardy snapped a two-fight win streak for Hardy that he developed with wins over Yorgan De Castro and Maurice Greene.

Tybura versus Hardy play-by-play.

Bout 7: Anthony Pettis (23-10) vs. Alex Morono (18-6) (Welterweight)

Pettis Earns Decision Win Over Morono, Plans Return To Lightweight

Anthony Pettis finished the preliminary card with a win, defeating Alex Morono via unanimous decision after three rounds of action. Pettis’s striking in the later rounds of the fight earned him the decision win.

Pettis was able to land hard singular shots while on his back foot throughout the second round.

Morono landed a takedown early in the third round, although Pettis was able to take control on the ground and hold top position for a few minutes after. Pettis had a strong finish to the fight, wobbling Morono with a spinning back kick.

Morono’s best round was the first, where he was able to control Pettis on the ground for a few minutes.

Pettis said he plans a return to lightweight following his win.

“I want to go back and get that belt,” said Pettis in his post-fight interview.

Pettis has spent his past five fights at welterweight.

Pettis won a fight earlier in the round, defeating Donald Cerrone.

Morono entered the fight on Saturday following a win over Rhys McKee only a month ago.

Pettis versus Morono play-by-play.

Bout 6: Pannie Kianzad (13-5) vs. Sijara Eubanks (6-5) (Bantamweight)

Kianzad’s Striking Leads Her To Decision Win

Pannie Kianzad earned her third-straight bantamweight win on Saturday, making somewhat of a comeback to defeat Sijara Eubanks on the prelims. Kianzad won via unanimous decision after three rounds.

Eubanks had a strong first round, being able to take Kianzad down. Kianzad started to take the fight over in the second round after she was able to land more strikes and stop takedowns. While Kianzad was taken down at points, she was often able to escape positions quickly.

The final round was entirely on the feet, where the fighters were able to trade punches. Kianzad had a high volume with her strikes while Eubanks had bigger impact.

The fight was Eubanks’ fourth fight in the year. Eubanks won her first fight of the year in May, defeating Sarah Moras. After defeating Julia Avila in September, Eubanks lost a decision to Ketlen Vieira only a couple weeks later.

Kianzad entered the fight after a two-fight win streak, having earned wins against Jessica-Rosa Clark and Bethe Correia.

Kianzad versus Eubanks play-by-play.

Bout 5: Deron Winn (6-2) vs. Antonio Arroyo (9-3) (Catchweight 195 lbs)

Winn Uses Wrestling To Defeat Arroyo

Deron Winn snapped a two-fight losing streak on the prelims, using his wrestling abilities to take rounds over Antonio Arroyo. Arroyo was able to put together shots on the feet, but most of the fight saw him getting taken down and put on his back from takedowns Winn.

Winn’s most recent fight before Saturday was a loss to Gerald Meerschaert in March.

Arroyo lost his UFC debut in November of 2019, not being favoured in a decision to Andre Muniz.

While both fighters usually fight at middleweight, the bout was held at a catchweight of 195-pounds.

Winn versus Arroyo play-by-play.

Bout 4: Gillian Robertson (9-4) vs. Taila Santos (16-1) (Flyweight)

Santos Earns Second UFC Win, Defeating Robertson On Scorecards

Taila Santos closed out her 2020 with her second UFC win, being given a decision win against Gillian Robertson. The fight saw Santos avoid submissions from Robertson and hold dominant positions throughout.

Robertson pulled guard early in the first round to attempt an armbar. Santos was able to take full guard on top for the majority of the first round after escaping the submission attempt.

Santos scored a trip takedown early in the second round. She was able to control Robertson on the ground for most of the round afterwards.

Similar to the first round, Robertson looked for a guillotine choke while pulling guard early in the final round. She lost control on the ground after Santos escaped the choke.

The matchup between Robertson and Santos was made after both of them had bookings earlier in the month that fell through.

Santos bounced back from her first loss as a pro in July, taking a decision win over Molly McCann.

Robertson entered the fight after wins over Cortney Casey and Poliana Botelho earlier in the year.

Santos versus Robertson play-by-play.

Bout 3: Tafon Nchukwi (4-0) vs. Jamie Pickett (11-4) (Middleweight)

Nchukwi Remains Undefeated, Wins UFC Debut

Tafon Nchukwi remained undefeated in his first UFC fight, defeating Jamie Pickett via unanimous decision on the prelims. The fight was Nchukwi’s first three-round bout through five pro fights in his career.

Nchukwi was able to out-strike Pickett for most of the fight, putting together combinations and staying active in clinches.

Pickett had his own moments in the fight, however, as he was able to wobble Nchukwi with numerous punches in the final minute of the second round.

Pickett got the worse of an accidental headbutt late in the second round that continued to bother him early in the final round.

Nchukwi’s best moment was halfway through the final round, where he scored a head kick then dropped Pickett with follow-up shots.

Both fighters were making their UFC debut following a win each on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

Nchukwi had a flashy head kick knockout in September, defeating Al Matavao. Nchukwi came down from light heavyweight for his fight on Saturday.

Pickett earned his UFC contract a couple weeks before, stopping Jhonoven Pati. The fight was his third appearance on the show.

Nchukwi versus Pickett play-by-play.

Bout 2: Jimmy Flick (15-5) vs. Cody Durden (11-2-1) (Flyweight)

Flick Earns Sudden Triangle Choke Win In UFC Debut

Jimmy Flick picked up a quick submission win on the prelims, submitting Cody Durden with a triangle choke in the first round to win his UFC debut.

Flick pulled guard after Durden caught his leg kick in the first round. Flick set up a triangle choke on the way down, keeping with the choke from his back until Durden tapped out.

Flick struggled early in the fight was Durden was able to land takedowns and put together better strikes.

“He came out aggressive, he was landing. I felt good, I stayed calm,” said Flick in his post-fight interview.

Flick earned his UFC contract in the summer, defeating Nate Smith on TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” He defeated Greg Fischer earlier in the year to become the LFA Flyweight Champion.

Durden fought to a draw against Chris Gutierrez in his UFC debut a few months back.

The fight between Flick and Durden was first scheduled for a December 5th card, although it was moved due to an issue with the comission.

Flick versus Durden play-by-play.

Bout 1: Carlton Minus (10-2) vs. Christos Giagos (17-8) (Catchweight 160 lbs)

Giagos Wins Short-Notice Decision Over Minus

Christos Giagos’ ability to score takedowns and control fights on the ground earned him a decision victory over Calton Minus on the prelims. Giagos took the fight earlier in the week after a fighter was scrapped from the card.

Giagos’ ability to score takedowns and work on the ground guided him through the fight. He was able to score takedowns easily and often quickly take the back of move into full mount of Minus.

Minus was able to put together some punches late in the round as Giagos started to get tired, although it never had Giagos in real trouble.

Minus lost his UFC debut in August, losing a welterweight fight to Matthew Semelsberger.

Giagos took the fight on a few days notice, stepping in for Rick Glenn. His previous fight was in 2019, where he lost a decision to Drakkar Klose.

The fight was held at a catchweight of 160-pounds due to the change in opponent on short notice.

Giagos versus Minus play-by-play.

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