Ranked light heavyweights Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker are set to collide in Saturday’s main event from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The fight sees Santos look to snap a losing streak, and the bout gives Walker a chance to shine in his first headlining appearance.
The bout headlines a 12-fight card that is set to happen. Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)
Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)
Bout 12: Thiago Santos (21-9) vs. Johnny Walker (18-5) (Light Heavyweight)
Santos Goes Five Rounds Against Walker, Ends Losing Streak In Main Event
Thiago Santos out-landed Johnny Walker in a five-round light heavyweight fight to break his losing streak on Saturday (48-47, 48-47 & 48-47). The win snapped a losing streak for Santos, giving him his first win since losing a title shot two years back.
Santos started slow in the 25-minute contest, losing a round before taking a lead in the score. He hit a stride after the first round, keeping that success to the end.
Walker won a slow first round to the fight, advancing on Santos and connecting with many leg kicks.
Santos had the lead in a composed striking battle for the middle chunk of rounds, having a higher output and scoring more than Walker with a leg kick-heavy offence.
The hardest punch of the fight came late, as Santos connected with a clean overhand left. Walker took the punch clean, remaining on the feet. The final round ended up being one of the harder frames to score, as Santos and Walker had a close battle besides the hard shot.
Santos had lost three consecutive bouts before Saturday. The losses came against the division’s best, including Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira.
Walker was competing in his first UFC main event bout. He scored a win in his previous fight, stopping Ryan Spann within a round with strikes.
Walker now has an even UFC record of three wins and three losses. All of his UFC victories have come in the first round.
Bout 11: Kevin Holland (21-7) vs. Kyle Daukaus (10-2) (Middleweight)
Head Clash Results In Sudden No Contest Ruling At Middleweight
A controversial finishing sequence that included an accidental clash of heads in the first round caused a co-main event fight between Kevin Holland and Kyle Daukaus to end via no contest.
Holland suddenly dropped during the first round after a hard clash of heads between the middleweights. The collision came as both fighters were coming forward, seemingly both looking for a takedown of some sort.
Daukaus showed killer instinct after clash, searching for submissions and applying a rear naked choke that tapped Holland out. While the outcome first looked like it would be a bounce-back win for Daukaus, that didn’t stick.
Officials reviewed the fight after it wrapped up, making the call to overturn the submission result to a no contest due to the accidental foul. Holland and Daukaus seemed okay with the outcome, verbally agreeing afterward that they want to have a rematch.
Daukaus was also coming back from a loss, as he lost earlier this year against Phil Hawes.
Bout 10: Niko Price (14-5) vs. Alex Oliveira (22-10-1) (Welterweight)
Price Outlasts Oliveira For Decision Win
Niko Price pulled away late against Alex Oliveira to take a unanimous decision win on Saturday (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Price won the first round, getting Oliveira down early and notching numerous minutes of control time. The second round was very much an inverse of the first, as Oliveira won it by keeping Price on his back for numerous minutes.
The welterweights engaged in a shootout on the feet to start the third round, both throwing and connecting with wailing hooks. Price wobbled Oliveira in the second minute of the round, backing him up with a right hook.
Oliveira continued to throw strikes late in the third round, although he started to get pushed to the edges of the octagon while his output slowed down. Price finished the round with a takedown, moving into half guard before the round ran out of time.
The decision was Price’s first win since 2019, ending a three-fight run of going winless with two losses and one no contest.
Bout 9: Misha Cirkunov (15-6) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (22-5) (Middleweight)
Cirkunov Loses Middleweight Debut Against Jotko
Kryzsztof Jokto spoiled the middleweight debut for Misha Cirkunov on Saturday, getting the split decision nod after a back-and-forth three-round battle (29-28 Jokto, 29-28 Cirkunov & 29-28 Jokto).
A large portion of the fight took place on the feet, as Jotko was often able to stop takedown attempts from Cirkunov.
Cirkunov was making the move down to middleweight after spending his previous UFC fights up at light heavyweight. He was finished in his prior bout, getting stopped in just over a minute by Ryan Spann.
Jokto had a winning streak broken earlier this year with a decision outcome against Sean Strickland.
Bout 8: Alexander Hernandez (12-4) vs. Mike Breeden (10-3) (Lightweight)
Hernandez Stops UFC Newcomer Breeden In Just Over A Minute
Alexander Hernandez put on a one-sided performance against UFC newcomer Mike Breeden in the opening fight of the main card, finishing him early in the first round with punches.
Hernandez first stunned Breeden with combinations of two-punch straights. Continuing to back up Breeden, Hernandez eventually unloaded an overhand right that dropped him and finished the fight.
Breeden was entering the UFC on short notice. He was stepping in for Leonardo Santos, who had to withdraw from his fight against Hernandez. He joined the promotion on a two-fight winning streak.
Hernandez still wants Santos, calling him out following his win.
The fast victory put Hernandez back into the win column after suffering a loss to Thiago Moises in February.
Bout 7: Joe Solecki (11-2) vs. Jared Gordon (17-4) (Lightweight)
Gordon Gets Close Decision Win, Ends Solecki’s Undefeated UFC Streak
Jared Gordon handed Joe Solecki his first UFC loss on Saturday, prevailing in a tough and close three-round battle that ended in a split decision (29-28 Solecki, 29-28 Gordon & 29-28 Gordon).
Solecki had the lead to start the fight, although it became a much closer battle in the later rounds. He spent a large portion of the first round on the back of Gordon, attempting a rear naked choke.
Gordon had a much better second round, being able to get numerous minutes of control time while landing ground and pound.
Potentially with an even score heading into the final round, the lightweights had a close striking battle where Gordon out-landed Solecki.
Solecki called out UFC newcomer Paddy Pimblett afterward.
“I beat his teammate Chris Fishgold and he wanted to get that one back, so come and get it,” said Gordon in his post-fight interview.
Gordon is now on a three-fight winning streak that includes previous wins over the aforementioned Fishgold and Danny Chavez.
Solecki had yet to lose in the UFC octagon before Saturday. He had won three fights in the promotion, including a decision over veteran Jim Miller earlier this year.
Bout 6: Antonina Shevchenko (9-3) vs. Casey O’Neill (7-0) (Flyweight)
Undefeated O’Neill Earns Third Finish UFC Win
Casey O’Neill continued her incredibly dominant UFC run on Saturday, stopping Antonina Shevchenko in the second round with ground and pound strikes.
O’Neill had a one-sided second round that lead to an eventual stoppage. Getting Shevchenko down early in the frame, O’Neill eventually moved into full mount where she landed a series of punches and elbows that eventually caused the fight to end.
O’Neill also got the fight down numerous times in the first round, using the positions on the ground to land strikes.
O’Neill, the undefeated prospect, now has three wins since joining the UFC early this year.
Shevchenko was submitted in her previous appearance, getting stopped by Andrea Lee at UFC 262.
Bout 5: Karol Rosa (14-3) vs. Bethe Correia (11-5-1) (Bantamweight)
Rosa Defeats Retiring Correia, Continues Winning Streak
Karol Rosa had a dominant stand-up performance on Saturday, going three rounds against the retiring Bethe Correia for a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-26).
Rosa out-landed Correia in every round, being dominant at range with punches and doing damage in the clinch with hard knees.
The fight was Correia’s retirement fight in MMA. The former title challenger was cut from the UFC roster last year following a loss to Pannie Kianzad, but re-joined later with her final pro fight in her sights.
Correia missed weight for the fight, coming in two-and-a-half pounds over the bantamweight limit.
Rosa is now undefeated through four appearances in the UFC. Her prior bout was in February, where she defeated Joselyne Edwards.
Bout 4: Jamie Mullarkey (13-4) vs. Devonte Smith (11-2) (Lightweight)
Mullarkey Puts Away Smith With Punches
Jamie Mullarkey scored his second consecutive finish win on Saturday, catching Devonte Smith in the second round with strikes.
Mullarkey clearly hurt Smith at some point during their stand-up battle in the second round. He stayed aggressive to the finish, backing Smith up against the cage and eventually dropping him with punches. After going to the canvas with ground and pound shots, the referee pulled away Mullarkey and finished the fight.
The opening round of the fight was a close battle on the feet, where Smith was able to land clean punches. Mullarkey mentioned after the fight that he thought Smith won the first round.
Mullarkey snapped a two-fight losing streak in his previous appearance, stopping Khama Worthy in just 46 seconds.
Smith was coming off a doctor stoppage win he took over Justin Jaynes in February.
Bout 3: Douglas Silva de Andrade (26-4) vs. Gaetano Pirrello (15-6-1) (Bantamweight)
Silva de Andrade Catches Pirrello Early With Left Hook
Douglas Silva de Andrade had a flashy knockout win on the prelims, stopping Gaetano Pirrello in the first round with a series of punches.
De Andrade caught Pirrello coming in with a strike in the second minute, countering with a left hook that floored him. De Silva went in for follow-up shots after, with the fighting coming to its inevitable end moments later.
The victory put Andrade back into the win column after suffering a loss to Lerone Murphy in January.
Pirrello was coming off a promotional debut loss to Ricky Simon from early this year.
Bout 2: Shanna Young (7-3) vs. Stephanie Egger (5-2) (Bantamweight)
Egger Gets Stoppage In First UFC Victory
Stephanie Egger scored her first UFC win on Saturday, using ground and pound to finish Shanna Young in the second round with strikes.
Egger scored a takedown from a clinch early in the second round, allowing her to score with ground and pound shots. While Egger didn’t land a high pace of shots from the position, Young’s body language on the ground presumably caused the referee to step in and end the fight.
Egger succeeded in the first round as well, evading submission attempts on the ground to unleash with shots from top position.
Egger lost her UFC debut last year, getting defeated via unanimous decision against Tracy Cortez.
Young has now lost two bouts since joining the promotion. She had her promotional debut over a year ago, losing in early 2020 against Macy Chiasson.
Bout 1: Alejandro Perez (21-8-1) vs. Johnny Eduardo (28-12) (Bantamweight)
Perez Scores First Win Since 2018
Alejandro Perez had a successful return to the cage to open the prelims, submitting Johnny Eduardo late in the second round with an armbar.
Eduardo scored a takedown in the second minute of the second round. Perez returned to his feet a minute later, allowing him to piece together some hard punches and land a takedown of his own. Perez moved to side control while in top position, then attempting a submission that made Eduardo tap out.
The opening round of the fight saw Perez and Eduardo have a close stand-up battle.
Both fighters were returning after long layoffs from competition, and were also coming back on two-fight losing streaks.
Eduardo, 41, was appearing in the ring for the first time since 2018. The fight marked a decade with the promotion for him.
Perez had previously appeared in 2019, with his most recent win dating back to 2018.