Rising lightweights Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises will experience their first UFC main event on Saturday night, headlining a 10-bout “Fight Night” card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)
Bout 10: Islam Makhachev (19-1) vs. Thiago Moises (15-4) (Lightweight)
Makhachev Earns First UFC Main Event Win, Continues Climb Up Lightweight Division
Islam Makhachev had a strong showcase in his first UFC main event, submitting Thiago Moises in the fourth round with a rear naked choke.
The submission win came shortly after he took Moises down and got on his back.
Makhachev showed success on the feet and ground leading up to the finish. He out-landed Moises on the feet and put down numerous minutes of control time in the fight.
He showed patience throughout the fight, never being too aggressive or reckless.
“You can run but you can’t hide. I’m coming,” said Makhachev in his post-fight interview, complaining that many lightweight contenders don’t want to fight him.
The win was Makhachev’s first time competing for more than three rounds in a bout. The victory built upon a win streak that he has obtained since 2016. He has now won eight consecutive bouts in the UFC.
Moises was a large underdog heading into Saturday’s main event. He was booked for the fight after putting together a three-fight winning streak over the past year or so.
A featherweight bout between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez was the original main event for UFC’s July 17th card. However, after Holloway pulled out due to injury, an already booked fight between Makhachev and Moises was promoted to headliner status.
Bout 9: Marion Reneau (9-7-1) vs. Miesha Tate (18-7) (Bantamweight)
Former Champ Tate Stops Retiring Reneau In Return
Former UFC Champion Miesha Tate had a strong showing in her return to action on Saturday, stopping Marion Reneau in the third round with ground and pound.
Tate landed numerous punches to the head of Reneau while on her back. This steady pace of blows eventually caused the referee to stop the fight.
Tate showed a wide range of skills earlier in the fight, scoring in stand-up exchanges and landing numerous takedowns.
The win was Tate’s first appearance since retiring nearly five years ago.
“This has been a lot of hard work … I’m here and I’m back,” said Tate in her post-fight interview.
Tate, 34, had previously declared retirement in 2016 after losing a fight to Raquel Pennington. That fight came just a few months after she lost her UFC Bantamweight Championship to current title holder Amanda Nunes.
Reneau said that the fight on Saturday would be the last of her MMA career. Her career concludes with nine wins through 18 pro bouts. The 44-year-old exits the UFC after competing in the promotion since 2015.
“I did give it all I had and that’s it. That’s all that’s left for me,” said Reneau afterward, confirming her plan to retire.
Bout 8: Mateusz Gamrot (18-1) vs. Jeremy Stephens (28-18) (Lightweight)
Former KSW Champ Gamrot Scores Quick Submission Against Veteran Stephens
Mateusz Gamrot scored a quick and important win on the main card, submitting veteran Jeremy Stephens in just over a minute with a kimura.
Gamrot was quick to pursue the submission after taking Stephens down in the first minute. He applied the submission while in a north-south position, causing Stephens to tap out quickly.
The win was Gamrot’s biggest victory since joining the UFC last year. The former KSW Champion opened his UFC run with a loss, but bounced back earlier this year with a stoppage win against Scott Holtzman.
Stephens is now winless in his last six fights, with five of those bouts being losses. His previous appearances was in May of 2020 when Calvin Kattar stopped him in the second round with strikes.
Stephens was originally set to compete earlier this year against Drakkar Klose, although that fight was cancelled after a shove at the ceremonial weigh-ins injured Klose.
Bout 7: Rodolfo Vieira (7-1) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (13-2) (Middleweight)
Vieira Returns To Winning Ways With Rear Naked Choke Sub
Rodolfo Vieira scored a sudden submission victory against Dustin Stoltzfus, mounting his back in the third round to secure a rear naked choke submission.
Vieira looked for the choke after Stoltzfus got up from a takedown that was scored minutes before. He kept with the choke while Stoltzfus crashed back to the ground, causing the fight to end shortly after.
Vieira, an expert in grappling, struggled to get the fight to the ground earlier in the fight. He scored two takedowns in prior minutes of the fight, although Stoltzfus was quick to get back to his feet in both instances.
Both fighters had closed battles on the feet during the first and second rounds.
Vieira was returning after taking his first pro loss earlier this year. He was on the losing side of a major upset in February, where Anthony Hernandez scored a submission win in the second round. Vieira had two wins in the UFC before then.
Stoltzfus was making his second UFC appearance. He lost his promotional debut last year, dropping a decision to Kyle Daukaus.
Bout 6: Billy Quarantillo (15-3) vs. Gabriel Benitez (22-8) (Featherweight)
Quarantillo Stops Benitez Late In Gritty Three-Round Battle
Billy Quarantillo evaded late trouble and put a close to his strong showing against Gabriel Benitez late in the third round, stopping him with strikes from the back position.
Quarantillo’s stoppage win came after an accumulation of damage to Benitez throughout the fight. Benitez was warned at moments that the referee could stop the bout due to the damage he was taking.
Quarantillo’s first strong moment was in the opening minute, where he dropped Benitez with an overhand right. He was able to take the back of Benitez after originally being in full guard. Quarantillo used his dominant position on the back of Benitez to score with punches and attempt rear naked chokes.
Quarantillo’s striking skills lead him through the second round.
While Quarantillo was ahead on scorecards heading into the final round, he was by no means in a comfortable spot. Benitez had him in trouble early in the frame, dropping him with a two-punch combination.
Quarantillo was able to regain control of the fight later in the final round with a takedown that allowed him to take the back of Benitez again. Frequent strikes from the position did visible damage to Benitez and eventually made the referee end the fight.
The fight put Quarantillo back into the win column after taking his first UFC loss in his previous appearance. His prior bout was in December, where Gavin Tucker defeated him via unanimous decision.
Quarantillo called out UFC veteran Charles Rosa following his win.
Quarantillo was first set to face Herbert Burns on this card, although he was matched with Benitez last month after Burns suffered a torn ACL.
Benitez had scored a stoppage win over Justin Jaynes in his previous fight.
Bout 5: Daniel Rodriguez (14-2) vs. Preston Parsons (9-2) (Welterweight)
Rodriguez Stops UFC Newcomer Parsons Within A Round
Daniel Rodriguez made quick work of short-notice opponent Preston Parsons on the prelims, stopping him within a round with strikes.
Rodriguez hurt Parsons throughout the round with punches. He finished the fight with a two punch combination that caused Parsons to shell up and eventually drop in the fourth minute.
It was reported just earlier this week that Parsons would be booked for this card, replacing Abubakar Nurmagomedov in a fight against Rodriguez.
Parsons joined the UFC roster with the reputation of being a finisher, having won or lost all 11 of his fights via stoppage and never entering the third round of action. He got the UFC call-up after a three-fight winning streak that included a victory from just last month.
Rodriguez scored a win in his previous appearance as well, defeating Mike Perry via unanimous decision earlier this year. He has now scored five wins through six fights in the UFC.
Bout 4: Amanda Lemos (9-1-1) vs. Montserrat Conejo (10-1) (Strawweight)
Lemos Extends Winning Streak To Four With Quick Stoppage
Amanda Lemos didn’t need much time to continue her win streak, as she stopped Montserrat Conejo within a minute with strikes.
Lemos first stunned Conejo with a right cross while backing up. She then followed-up with a two-punch combo that dropped Conejo and finished the fight.
Lemos was hurting Conejo throughout the short fight, connecting with shots while doing a good job at utilizing her reach advantage.
Lemos now has four consecutive wins in the UFC. Her previous victory was also a finish win, stopping Livinha Souza within a round due to strikes.
Lemos asked to fight again in October following her win, wanting to face a top five ranked strawweight.
Conejo was returning after scoring her UFC debut win earlier this year over Cheyanne Buys.
Bout 3: Khalid Taha (13-3) vs. Sergey Morozov (16-4) (Bantamweight)
Morozov Sweeps Scorecards Against Taha For First UFC Win
Takedowns and sharp striking from Sergey Morozov earned him his first UFC victory on Saturday, defeating Khalid Taha via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Morozov utilized his wrestling throughout the fight, scoring a takedown in all three rounds. He was able to hold his own in striking exchanges against an aggressive Taha, even being able to land some hard shots at moments.
Morozov, a former M-1 Bantamweight Champion, lost his UFC debut earlier this year, being submitted by undefeated prospect Umar Nurmagomedov.
Taha took a loss in his prior appearance, losing a unanimous decision to Raoni Barcelos. The bout was his first after serving a one-year suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Bout 2: Francisco Figueiredo (12-3-1) vs. Malcolm Gordon (12-5) (Flyweight)
Gordon Ends Losing Streak, Scores First UFC Win
Malcolm Gordon succeeded in a potential must-win fight on the prelims, defeating Francisco Figueiredo via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28). The victory snapped a two-fight skid for Gordon and earned him his first win since joining the UFC roster last year.
Gordon’s showed a pressure-heavy game plan, starting every round aggressive and advancing on Figueiredo.
The opening round was the closest one between the two, as Gordon scored a takedown but Figueiredo was able to reverse the position quickly.
Stand-up exchanges in the fight mostly came from the second round, where they battled for the majority of the frame at a striking range. Gordon was very active on the feet with advancing and a high strike output.
Gordon opened the final round with a takedown and was able to keep Figueiredo on his back for the first half of the round. Figueiredo was able to get to his feet eventually and earn a takedown of his own in the last minute.
Gordon’s two previous UFC appearances saw him finished by his opponent. Entering his fight on Saturday, Gordon thought he needed to win the bout to remain on the UFC roster.
“I knew my back was against the wall,” said Gordon in his post-fight interview.
Figueiredo had a successful UFC debut earlier this year, taking a decision victory against Jerome Rivera.
Bout 1: Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1) vs. Alan Baudot (8-2) (Heavyweight)
Nascimento Scores Comeback Victory Over Baudot
Rodrigo Nascimento bounced back from his sole pro loss to open the prelims, stopping Alan Baudot in the second round with punches.
Nascimento connected with a two-punch combination that made Baudot collapse to the ground as part of a flurry in the round. He then continued to land shots to a covered up Baudot until the referee stopped the fight.
Nascimento’s sudden takeover of the fight came after a short break early in the second round due to an accidental groin strike to Baudot.
Baudot had succeeded in the round before, piecing together punches that scored clean. Nascimento was able to clinch with Baudot to stop his success somewhat in the first round.
Nascimento mentioned afterward that his team told him he lost the first round when in his corner. He also called out fellow UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman after his win.
Nascimento took his first pro loss in his previous appearance, being stopped in just 45 seconds by Chris Daukaus last year.
Baudot is now on a two-fight losing streak since joining the UFC. He made his promotional debut on short notice last year, losing within a round to Tom Aspinall.
COVID-19 Protocol Forces dos Santos vs. Johns Off Lineup
A bantamweight fight set to happen on the preliminary card between Anderson dos Santos and Miles Johns was removed from the lineup on Saturday due to UFC’s COVID-19 protocol.
Johns unveiled the change through social media on Saturday afternoon.
“My opponent/camp tested positive for covid[-19] so the fight is off,” said Johns via Instagram. “I want to wish him a speedy recovery, want to thank the UFC for the opportunity but mainly want apologize to everyone who was looking forward to watching me fight today.”
Both dos Santos and Johns were aiming to build off wins they earned late last year.
UFC’s July 17th card is now down to 10 fights in total.