UFC on ESPN+ 61: Santos vs. Ankalaev Live Coverage

Magomed Ankalaev will fight to keep his climb up the light heavyweight division alive on Saturday night, competing in his first ever UFC main event against Thiago Santos. Their five-round fight is set to headline a “Fight Night” card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Follow along throughout the evening for live updates on the event.

A preview of the card can be read here.

Quick Results:

Preliminary Card (4:00PM EST / 1:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)

Bout 1: Azamat Murzakanov def. Tafon Nchukwi via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 0:44)

Bout 2: Guido Cannetti def. Kris Moutinho via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:07)

Bout 3: Cody Brundage def. Dalcha Lungiambula via Submission, Guillotine Choke (RD 1, 3:41)

Bout 4: Miranda Maverick def. Sabina Mazo via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 2:15)

Bout 5: Damon Jackson def. Kamuela Kirk via Submission, Arm Triangle Choke (RD 2, 4:42)

Bout 6: Javid Basharat def. Trevin Jones via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 7: JJ Aldrich def. Gillian Robertson via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 8: Matthew Semelsberger def. AJ Fletcher via Decision, Unanimous

Main Card (7:00PM EST / 4:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 2)

Bout 9: Alex Pereira def. Bruno Silva via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 10: Drew Dober def. Terrance McKinney via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:17)

Bout 11: Khalil Rountree def. Karl Roberson via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 0:25)

Bout 12: Sodiq Yusuff def. Alex Caceres via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 13: Song Yadong def. Marlon Moraes via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:06)

Bout 14: Magomed Ankalaev def. Thiago Santos via Decision, Unanimous

Live Coverage:

Bout 14: Thiago Santos (22-9) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (16-1) (Light Heavyweight)

Ankalaev Takes Decision Win Against Santos In First UFC Main Event

Magomed Ankalaev won his first-ever UFC main event appearance on Saturday night, prevailing over former title challenger Thiago Santos in a unanimous decision result (49-46, 49-46 & 48-47).

Ankalaev’s victory came through a slow-paced stand-up fight through all five rounds. Apart from one flash knockdown that came early, Ankalaev comfortably out-landed Santos in most rounds to take a solid lead by the end of the bout.

Ankalaev now has an impressive eight-fight winning streak at light heavyweight. Previous wins included victories over Volkan Oezdemir and Nikita Krylov last year.

Santos, who is currently ranked fifth in the light heavyweight division, is the biggest win that Ankalaev has attained thus far.

Santos was coming off a decision win that he scored over Johnny Walker in the main event of a card last year. Before then, he had lost three consecutive fights against some of the top names in the division.

Bout 13: Marlon Moraes (23-9-1) vs. Song Yadong (18-6-1) (Bantamweight)

Song Beats Moraes Within A Round

Song Yadong scored a big win in Saturday’s co-main event, stopping Marlon Moraes in the first round with a slick combination of punches.

Song first landed an overhand right to the head of Moraes that backed him up. He followed this up with a right uppercut that dropped Moraes and finished the fight in just the third minute.

Song has now won three consecutive fights at bantamweight. His previous fight was also a stoppage victory, defeating Julio Arce in November 2021.

Moraes has now taken four consecutive finish losses against high-level names at bantamweight. This brutal series of fights includes matchups against Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font.

Bout 12: Alex Caceres (19-12) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (11-2) (Featherweight)

Yusuff Picks Up Decision Victory In Return

Sodiq Yusuff bounced back from his sole UFC loss on Saturday’s main card, securing a unanimous (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

While the scorecards reflected a one-sided performance for Yusuff, it was anything but that. The returning featherweight engaged in close striking battles against Caceres,

Yusuff hurt Caceres throughout the fight with kicks to the legs. The shots landed frequently and gave Caceres pause at times during the exchanges.

Caceres entered this weekend on the longest winning streak of his extensive MMA career, which includes an entire decade in the UFC. This winning streak included five wins from 2019 to 2021.

Yusuff’s previous appearance was a decision loss to Arnold Allen in April 2021.

Bout 11: Khalil Rountree (9-5) vs. Karl Roberson (9-4) (Light Heavyweight)

Rountree Scores Sudden Stoppage Against Roberson

Khalil Rountree’s explosive striking earned him another win on Saturday night, using a sudden jolt of momentum in the second round to finish Karl Roberson with strikes.

Roberson got knocked down just moments into the second round with a hard right hook. Roberson was hit with a body kick and two more hooks to the head when he returned to his feet. This dropped Roberson again, ending the fight.

The finish came after a close opening round on the feet from the light heavyweights.

Rountree had a passionate post-fight interview after, mentioning that he wants to motivate people through his fighting.

“I want to do something big. If I want to take on the world in that way, I gotta have focus,” said Rountree in his post-fight interview.

Rountree returned to the win column in his previous fight, defeating Modestas Bukauskas in September 2021.

Roberson is now on a three-fight losing streak. He had previously lost to Marvin Vettori and Brendan Allen.

Bout 10: Drew Dober (23-11) vs. Terrance McKinney (12-3) (Lightweight)

Dober Earns Comeback Victory Against McKinney In The First

Drew Dober turned things around in just a few minutes of action against Terrance McKinney, stopping him late in the first round after nearly getting finished earlier in the fight.

McKinney dropped Dober in the opening minute with strikes. At that moment, the fight looked like it could another one of McKinney’s incredibly fast victories in the UFC cage.

But Dober endured this quick flurry, getting back up to his feet eventually and starting to return with shots. Later in the round, he dropped McKinney with a knee to the head, allowing him to land ground and pound shots to end the fight.

McKinney took the fight on just over a week’s notice, stepping in to replace Ricky Glenn. His previous fight was just last month, where he stopped Fares Ziam within a round for his second UFC victory.

The fight put Dober back into the win column after suffering two losses in 2021. He faced big names in the lightweight division last year, losing to Brad Riddell and Islam Makhachev.

Dober called out veteran Bobby Green in his post-fight interview.

Bout 9: Bruno Silva (22-6) vs. Alex Pereira (4-1) (Middleweight)

Former GLORY Kickboxer Pereira Scores Second UFC Win

Former GLORY Kickboxing Champion Alex Pereira scored his second UFC win on Saturday night, defeating the experienced Bruno Silva for a unanimous decision result (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

Pereira got the win from his striking battles with Silva. This was a surprisingly close contest, as Silva was able to land frequently on Pereira, who was expected to be the better striker.

Pereira won all three rounds on scorecards, but it was clear that the first and third rounds were his absolute best, pouring on flurries of punches that would back Silva up.

Silva caused a challenge with takedowns on Pereira, although Pereira did a good job to make sure that these positions did not dominate the fight.

Pereira won his UFC debut on a pay-per-view card just last month, stopping Andreas Michailidis.

Saturday night was Silva’s first UFC loss. He had previously scored three wins in the promotion via finish last year.

Bout 8: Matthew Semelsberger (9-3) vs. AJ Fletcher (9-0) (Welterweight)

Semelsberger Defeats UFC Newcomer Fletcher In Close Battle

Matthew Semelsberger had a quick victory against UFC newcomer AJ Fletcher, getting the best of a close three-round battle with a unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

Fletcher had a good opening round with ground control and striking. However, Semelsberger started to turn things around in the second and closed the fight out with a strong final frame.

Semelsberger made the fight bloody late, landing ground and pound that sliced Fletcher open in the third round.

Fletcher was joining the UFC with an undefeated record of nine wins. He scored a big win on the most recent “Contender Series” season, stopping Leonardo Damiani with a flying knee.

Semelsberger scored a quick win in his previous fight, stopping Martin Sano in just 15 seconds last year.

Bout 7: JJ Aldrich (10-4) vs. Gillian Robertson (10-6) (Flyweight)

Aldrich Continues Flyweight Climb With Win Over Robertson

JJ Aldrich picked up her third consecutive win on Saturday night, sweeping scorecards against Gillian Robertson for a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

Aldrich prevailed after a three-round striking battle on the feet. While neither fighter seemed hurt at times, it was Aldrich who scored the better shots. Robertson briefly tried to get the fight to the ground in the third round.

Aldrich scored two wins last year, defeating Cortney Casey and Vanessa Demopoulos.

Robertson was coming off a first-round submission win over Priscila Cachoeira from late last year.

Bout 6: Trevin Jones (13-7) vs. Javid Basharat (11-0) (Bantamweight)

Basharat Takes Hard-Fought UFC Debut Win Over Jones

Javid Basharat kept his undefeated record alive in his UFC debut, defeating Trevin Jones via unanimous decision after a three-round striking battle on the feet (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

Basharat and Jones competed in fast-paced striking exchanges throughout the battle. Basharat kept a high output of strikes in all three rounds and had the clear edge in back-and-forth trades.

Basharat earned a UFC contract last year, securing a submission win against Oron Kahlon on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

Jones has now lost two straight fights. His previous bout was a defeat last year to Saidyokub Kakhramonov.

Bout 5: Damon Jackson (19-4-1) vs. Kamuela Kirk (11-4) (Featherweight)

Jackson Submits Kirk For Third UFC Win

Damon Jackson handed Kamuela Kirk his first UFC loss on Saturday night, working toward a second-round arm triangle choke to end their fight.

Jackson’s best moments in the fight were on the ground, being able to land strikes and attempt submissions. The fight was much closer in stand-up exchanges, as both fighters were able to land shots.

Jackson’s UFC record is a strong three wins through four fights. His previous fight was a decision win over Charles Rosa.

Following his win, Jackson called for a featherweight who is in the top-15 ranked names of the division.

Kirk won his UFC debut last year, winning a short-notice appearance against Makwan Amirkhani.

Bout 4: Sabina Mazo (9-3) vs. Miranda Maverick (9-4) (Flyweight)

Maverick Secures Submission Win, Ends Losing Streak

Miranda Maverick closed out a dominant performance over Sabina Mazo with a second-round rear naked choke submission, ending a two-fight losing streak that she suffered last year.

Maverick secured the submission shortly after securing a takedown and taking the back of Mazo. She was dominant in the round before as well, landing ground and pound throughout the frame.

Mazo has now lost three consecutive fights. Her previous defeats came to Alexis Davis and Mariya Agapova.

Maverick’s previous fights saw her lose to Maycee Barber and Erin Blanchfield. She took this fight on short notice, stepping in to replace Mandy Bohm.

Bout 3: Cody Brundage (6-2) vs. Dalcha Lungiambula (11-3) (Middleweight)

Brundage Pulls Off Comeback For First UFC Win

Cody Brundage scored a one-round comeback against Dalcha Lungiambula, submitting him in the opening frame with a guillotine choke.

Brundage secured the submission as a counter to a takedown attempt from Lungiambula. Brundage pulled guard with the submission, causing a tap eventually.

Lungiambula had Brundage in trouble before the submission. He hurt Brundage on the feet with strikes and capitalized on takedown attempts to land ground and pound.

Brundage lost his UFC debut in September, losing a short-notice fight to undefeated prospect Nick Maximov.

Lungiambula has now lost two consecutive fights. His previous bout was a defeat to Marc-Andre Barriault last year.

Bout 2: Guido Cannetti (8-6) vs. Kris Moutinho (9-5) (Bantamweight)

Cannetti Ends Long Losing Streak Against Moutinho

Guido Cannetti snapped a three-losing streak on Saturday’s prelims with a first-round finish win against Kris Moutinho.

Cannetti strung together a quick series of punches that landed on Moutinho and backed him up against the cage. These combinations made the referee opt to step in and end the fight.

Moutinho protested the stoppage afterward.

Cannetti entered the bout searching for his first win since 2018. He had won three consecutive fights since then.

Moutinho lost his UFC debut last year, stepping in on short notice to face high-level bantamweight Sean O’Malley. The CES and CFFC vet became known for his performance in the fight, taking a long beating against O’Malley but not getting stopped until the final minute.

Bout 1: Tafon Nchukwi (6-1) vs. Azamat Murzakanov (10-0) (Light Heavyweight)

Undefeated Murzakanov Scores Flying Knee Knockout In UFC Debut

Azamat Murzakanov scored a big knockout in his UFC debut, scoring a flying knee knockout early in the third round against Tafon Nchukwi.

Murzakanov’s knee to the head of Nchukwi flattened him in the first minute of the final round, immediately causing the referee to step in and end the bout.

Before the finish, Nchukwi was slowly attaining a lead by out-landing Murzakanov in stand-up exchanges.

Murzakanov joined the UFC roster in August, scoring a first-round finish win on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

Nchukwi now has an even UFC record of two wins and two losses. His previous fight was a win over Mike Rodriguez.

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