UFC on ESPN+ 54: Costa vs. Vettori Live Coverage

Ranked middleweights Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori will return on Saturday night, competing up at light heavyweight in the main event of a UFC “Fight Night” card. Their fight, which has generated controversy due to a last-minute change in weight classes, will headline a show from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.

A preview of the card can be read here.

Quick Results:

Preliminary Card (1:00PM EDT / 10:00AM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)

Bout 1: Jonathan Martinez def. Zviad Lazishvili via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 2: Randa Markos def. Livinha Souza via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 3: Jeff Molina def. Daniel da Silva via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 0:46)

Bout 4: Jai Herbert def. Khama Worthy via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:47)

Bout 5: Jamie Pickett def. Laureano Staropoli via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 6: Tabatha Ricci def. Maria Oliveira via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 7: Mason Jones def. David Onama via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 8: Gregory Rodrigues def. Park Jun-yong via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:13)

Main Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)

Bout 9: Nick Negumereanu def. Ike Villanueva via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:18)

Bout 10: Francisco Trinaldo def. Dwight Grant via Decision, Split

Bout 11: Alex Caceres def. Choi Seung-woo via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 3:31)

Bout 12: Jessica-Rose Clark def. Joselyne Edwards via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 13: Grant Dawson vs. Ricky Glenn via Decision, Majority Draw

Bout 14: Marvin Vettori def. Paulo Costa via Decision, Unanimous

Live Coverage:

Bout 14: Paulo Costa (13-1) vs. Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) (Light Heavyweight)

Vettori Successful In Temporary Move To Light Heavyweight, Defeats Costa After Five Rounds

Marvin Vettori returned to the win column in Saturday’s main event, earning a unanimous decision win over Paulo Costa after a five-round striking battle (48-46, 48-46 & 48-46).

The close fight showed the toughness of both fighters, as they both threw and consumed large amounts of strikes.

Vettori had a good start to the fight, out-landing Costa in fast-paced stand-up exchanges through the first and second rounds.

Costa suffered a setback in the second round, as referee Jason Herzog deducted a point from him due to an accidental eye poke. Herzog justified the point deduction by mentioning that Costa was warned during the fight about how he was running the risk of poking Vettori in the eye due to how he was holding his arms out.

Costa was the more active striker late, throwing at a much better volume than Vettori in the championship rounds. He was landing at a high frequency with punches and kicks to the body in the final round, scoring clean and clearly doing damage to Vettori.

The main event bout became notorious earlier in this week for a last-minute change of weight classes. The fight, which was first scheduled for the middleweight limit of 186 pounds, was moved up by 20 pounds after Costa admitted he was on pace to be incredibly overweight for the fight.

Both fighters were returning for the first time since losing a title challenge to UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.

Costa was competing for the first time in over a year. His title fight, which was a second-round stoppage loss, came in September 2020.

Vettori’s title fight was more recently, going five rounds for a unanimous decision loss against the champ in June.

Bout 13: Grant Dawson (17-1) vs. Ricky Glenn (22-6-1) (Lightweight)

Late Push From Glenn Forces Majority Draw Against Dawson

A strong third-round showing from Ricky Glenn may have saved him in Saturday’s co-main event, as a majority draw outcome came against Grant Dawson after three rounds of action (29-28 Dawson, 28-28 & 28-28).

Dawson started the fight strong, but a last-minute push from Glenn made it a hard fight to score.

Dawson took the first two rounds of the fight, taking Glenn down and using dominant positions on the ground to control the fight.

The final round was Glenn’s best, as he attempted a choke after controlling Dawson on the ground for most of the third round. Glenn claimed afterward that Dawson went unconscious in the final seconds of the choke, although it was not reviewed by referee after.

Dawson had won all five of his previous UFC appearances before Saturday. His previous fight was a stoppage victory, defeating Leonardo Santos in March.

Glenn was coming off a quick win, stopping Joaquim Silva in just 37 seconds in June.

Bout 12: Jessica-Rose Clark (10-6) vs. Joselyne Edwards (10-3) (Bantamweight)

Clark Uses Wrestling For Decision Victory

Jessica-Rose Clark used her wrestling to earn a unanimous decision win over Joselyne Edwards on the main card (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

Clark was able to take Edwards down in every round. By the end of the fight she had accumulated over 10 minutes of control time, per UFC statistics.

Clark has now won two straight in the UFC cage. She scored a stoppage win in her last time around, finishing Sarah Alpar in September.

Edwards was returning after a hectic start to her UFC career earlier this year, winning and losing a bout within a month’s time.

Bout 11: Alex Caceres (18-12) vs. Choi Seung-woo (10-3) (Featherweight)

Veteran Caceres Makes Comeback, Submits Choi For Fifth Consecutive Win

Experienced featherweight Alex Caceres made a comeback against Choi Seung-woo, securing a rear naked choke in the second round.

Caceres mounted the back of Choi after dodging a kick attempt. He looked for the choke while they went to the ground, keeping with the attempt until the fight came to a close.

Caceres battled back from an opening round that saw him in trouble on the feet. Choi had a flurry of damaging strikes in the first round, although an illegal strike stopped his momentum and cost him a point.

Choi dropped Caceres in the first round with a counter right cross. Pouncing on the hurt veteran, Choi landed a knee to Caceres while he was still deemed a grounded opponent. Due to this illegal shot, the fight was stopped for over a minute and Choi was deducted a point.

“I thought I was going out for a second,” said Caceres about the moment during his post-fight interview.

Caceres has now won five consecutive bouts since 2019. His prior bout earlier this year was in February, defeating Kevin Croom on scorecards.

Choi entered Saturday with the momentum of a three-fight winning streak. He earned his first stoppage UFC win in June, stopping Julian Erosa.

Bout 10: Dwight Grant (11-3) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (26-8) (Welterweight)

Trinaldo Earns Close Split Decision Win, Takes First Welterweight Win

Francisco Trinaldo survived a late point deduction to defeat Dwight Grant on Saturday, taking a split decision win after three rounds for his first victory at welterweight (29-27 Grant, 29-27 Trinaldo & 29-27 Trinaldo).

Trinaldo had good striking throughout the first two rounds, engaging in close exchanges with Grant.

Trinaldo was deducted a point in the third round, as an accidental groin shot and eye poke were delivered to Grant during the frame. Trinaldo went on to dominate the rest of the round, scoring a takedown and notching numerous minutes of control time.

Trinaldo made his welterweight debut earlier this year, moving up from lightweight to face Muslim Salikhov. He wasn’t successful in that showing, losing via unanimous decision to end a three-fight winning streak.

Grant earned a split decision win earlier this year, defeating Stefan Sekulic.

Bout 9: Nick Negumereanu (10-1) vs. Ike Villanueva (18-12) (Light Heavyweight)

Negumereanu Stops Villanueva In Second Minute

Nick Negumereanu had a quick win to open the main card, defeating Ike Villanueva in the first round with strikes.

Negumereanu dropped Villanueva in the second minute of action with hooks to the head. He then landed a few punches on the ground to a shelled-up Villanueva before the referee stopped the fight.

Villanueva protested the fight after the stoppage, claiming that hammerfist strikes from Negumereanu landed to the back of his head. A replay on the official broadcast showed that this was the case.

Negumereanu scored his first UFC win in his previous appearance, defeating Aleksa Camur via split decision in June.

Villaneuva has now lost four of his last five fights. He was stopped in his previous fight, losing to Marcin Prachnio in June.

Bout 8: Park Jun-yong (13-4) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (10-3) (Middleweight)

Rodrigues Survives Wild Exchange, Finishes Park For Second UFC Win

Gregory Rodrigues prevailed in a slugging battle against Park Jun-yong, stopping him in the second round with punches.

A tired Rodrigues was able to finish Park during a back-and-forth exchange of punches on the feet. Rodrigues was seemingly tired and hurt during the fight, although Park eventually shut down due to the strikes, backing up and failing to answer back from the punches from Rodrigues.

The finish victory for Rodrigues came after a second-round that looked to be going Park’s way.

Park stunned Rodrigues to start the second round, storming him with a flurry of punches. Park attempted a guilltoine choke after a hurt Rodrigues shot for a takedown, but that bought Rodrigues time to rest and briefly take a dominant position on the ground.

Back to the feet a minute later, Rodrigues scored a judo throw takedown after they both threw a wild flurry of punches.

They then got back up to the feet again for the wild finishing sequence.

Rodrigues had a strong first round, scoring a takedown and searching for a rear naked choke from the back of Park.

Rodrigues, a former LFA Middleweight Champion, now has two wins in the UFC cage. He had a strong debut in June, defeating Dusko Todorovic via unanimous decision.

The loss Saturday snapped a three-fight losing streak for Park that dated back to 2019.

Bout 7: Mason Jones (10-1) vs. David Onama (8-0) (Lightweight)

Jones Earns Tough Decision Win Over Undefeated Onama

Mason Jones had a hard-fought battle against David Onama on the prelims, putting on a hectic scrap for a unanimous decision result (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

The lightweights fought in back-and-forth striking exchanges in every round, connecting frequently with hard punches. While the striking was quite close, Jones had the edge in the fight with his ability to many numerous takedowns in each round.

The punching power of the fighters was on display throughout, as both were visibly wobbled by shots at times.

Onama was making his UFC debut on short notice. It was reported just earlier this week that he would replace Alan Patrick, who withdrew from his bout against Jones.

Onama entered the card with an undefeated record of eight pro wins from 2019 to 2021. He previously fought just earlier this month, stopping Brad Robison within a round.

Jones now has his first UFC victory. The former two-division Cage Warriors Champion was unsuccessful in his two previous UFC bouts, taking a loss and a no contest.

Bout 6: Tabatha Ricci (5-1) vs. Maria Oliveira (12-4) (Strawweight)

Ricci Picks Up First UFC Win

Tabatha Ricci earned her first UFC victory on Saturday, out-working Maria Oliveira for a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

Ricci scored numerous takedowns in the fight, often allowing her to land ground and pound shots from a dominant position.

Ricci lost her UFC debut earlier this year, getting stopped by Manon Fiorot. The bout, which was her first pro loss, was taken on short notice up at flyweight. Before then, Ricci had attained three wins in notable promotion LFA.

Oliveira was making her UFC debut in the fight. She had won her two previous MMA bouts, including a first-round stoppage win earlier this year.

Bout 5: Laureano Staropoli (9-4) vs. Jamie Pickett (11-6) (Middleweight)

Pickett Ends Losing Streak, Secures First UFC Victory

Jamie Pickett prevailed in a potential must-win position against Laureano Staropoli, defeating him via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 29-29).

A large portion of the three-round fight took place in a clinch position, where the middleweights traded with strikes.

Picket avoided falling into a three-fight losing streak in the fight. He had lost his two prior UFC bouts, getting defeated by Tafon Nchukwi and Jordan Wright in the past.

Staropoli has now gone winless in his last four bouts. His previous fight was in August, losing to Roman Dolidze.

Bout 4: Khama Worthy (16-8) vs. Jai Herbert (10-3) (Lightweight)

Herbert Unloads With Punches For First UFC Win

Jai Herbert showed explosive punches in his first UFC win, stopping Khama Worthy in the first round with strikes.

Herbert dropped Worthy in the first round, unleashing a flurry of punches that visibly wobbled and subsequently dropped him.

Herbert followed up on the ground with hard hooks, causing the referee to step in only moments after the knockdown.

Herbert, a former Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion, now has his first UC victory. He was stopped in his two previous fights, losing to Francisco Trinaldo and Renato Moicano.

Worthy has now been finished in three consecutive UFC bouts.

Bout 3: Jeff Molina (9-2) vs. Daniel da Silva (11-1) (Flyweight)

Molina Stops da Silva With Right Hook, Ground and Pound

Jeff Molina had a strong finish win on Saturday, stopping UFC newcomer Daniel da Silva with strikes in the second round.

Molina floored da Silva early in the second frame, connecting with a right hook for a knockdown. He followed up with ground and pound strikes, connecting with dozens of unanswered shots before the referee stepped in.

The first round of the flyweight contest saw the fighters engage in a close grappling battle.

Molina has earned two wins since joining the UFC roster. His debut was in April, where he defeated Aoriqileng via unanimous decision.

Da Silva was making his UFC debut. He entered the weekend on a three-fight winning streak, with all victories in the trio coming via finish.

Bout 2: Livinha Souza (14-3) vs. Randa Markos (10-11-1) (Strawweight)

Markos Ends Losing Streak With Decision Win

Randa Markos broke a long losing streak on Saturday, putting together a solid three-round fight against Livinha Souza to win via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

Souza put up a challenge for Markos early on, but it eventually became a solid performance overall for the strawweight veteran.

Souza’s best moment was early on when she was able to take the back of Markos and threaten with a rear naked choke. Markos was able to later escape that position and take control of the fight on the ground.

Markos controlled the fight even more in the second round, out-grappling Souza during the frame.

The fight remained on the feet for the final round, where Markos had the sharper striking to close out her performance.

Markos entered Saturday on a four-fight losing streak. Her previous bout was a disqualification loss, as an illegal upkick to Luana Pinheiro caused their bout to end within a round.

Not only did Saturday’s fight end a long skid for Markos, but it evened her pro record at 11 wins and losses each.

Souza is now on a two-fight losing streak. She was stopped earlier this year by Amanda Lemos, who finished her within a round.

Bout 1: Jonathan Martinez (13-4) vs. Zviad Lazishvili (12-0) (Bantamweight)

Martinez Utilizes Striking, Hands Former LFA Champ Lazishvili First Pro Loss

Jonathan Martinez had a good performance over UFC newcomer Zviad Lazishvili in the opening bout, using striking to pick up a unanimous decision win (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28).

The pure striking performance saw Martinez land the better shots, out-scoring Lazishvili and causing visible damage.

Lazishvili attempted numerous takedowns in the fight, but Martinez was able to keep the fight on the feet throughout.

Martinez is now back in the win column after suffering a loss against Davey Grant earlier this year.

Lazishvili took the fight on short notice, stepping in to replace Aaron Phillips. His previous fight was a year ago, where he submitted Ricky Steele to become the LFA Bantamweight Champion.

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