Kamaru Usman had the antidote for Demian Maia’s venom.
A crushing sprawl, superior athleticism and efficient standup spurred Usman to a unanimous decision over Maia in the UFC Fight Night 129 headliner on Saturday at the Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile. Scores were 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46 for Usman (13-1, 8-0 UFC), whose stock continues to soar in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division.
Only the first round was competitive. A replacement for the injured Santiago Ponzinibbio, Maia (25-9, 19-9 UFC) spent the last 20 minutes shooting low-percentage takedowns, eating punches and backpedaling around the cage. Usman dropped the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a straight right in the fourth round, pounced with punches and exacted further damage on Maia’s face, opening a cut near his left eye. Though a finish failed to materialize, the outcome was never in doubt.
Usman, 31, has pieced together a 12-fight winning streak and finds himself in the thick of the hunt at 170 pounds.
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Suarez Choke Taps Grasso
“The Ultimate Fighter 23” winner Tatiana Suarez remained undefeated, as she submitted Alexa Grasso with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their women’s strawweight co-main event. Grasso (10-2, 2-2 UFC), who had never before been finished, conceded defeat 2:44 into Round 1.
Suarez (6-0, 3-0 UFC) executed a head-and-arm throw a little more than a minute into the fight, scored with another takedown and withstood a frenetic scramble from the Lobo Gym standout. She ultimately advanced to Grasso’s back, set her hooks and slipped her arm underneath the chin. Suarez slowly tightened her squeeze, and though Grasso fought desperately to free herself, there was no escape.
Spawned by the Millennia MMA camp, Suarez has secured three of her first six wins by submission.
Unbeaten Reyes Vanquishes Cannonier
Dominick Reyes kept his perfect professional record intact and did so in spectacular fashion, as he put away former Alaska Fighting Championship titleholder Jared Cannonier with punches in the first round of their featured light heavyweight attraction. Cannonier (10-4, 3-4 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:55 into Round 1.
Reyes (9-0, 3-0 UFC) was patient and purposeful, chipping away with inside leg kicks and occasional jabs. During one of their standup exchanges, he clipped Cannonier with a sweeping left uppercut that set the 34-year-old on rubbery legs. Reyes followed with a pair of partially blocked head kicks and pressed the issue before dropping his opponent to all fours with another left uppercut.
The 28-year-old Reyes now has eight first-round finishes under his belt.
Cannetti Spoils Rivas Homecoming
“The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” semifinalist Guido Cannetti marched into enemy territory and walked out with a unanimous decision over Diego Rivas in a three-round bantamweight feature. Cannetti (8-3, 2-2 UFC) drew 29-28 marks on all three scorecards.
Windows of opportunity were too few and far between for Rivas (7-2, 2-2 UFC). The Chilean was a step behind Cannetti but nevertheless bit down on a guillotine choke in the second round and drew blood with a burst of knees, elbows and uppercuts in the third. It was not enough to erase Cannetti’s efforts, which included multiple takedowns, effective ground-and-pound and time-consuming positional control.
Cannetti has compiled a 6-2 record across his past eight appearances.
Debuting Lee Stymies Macedo
Former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Andrea Lee breezed through her first test inside the Octagon, as she took a unanimous decision from Veronica Macedo in a featured women’s flyweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Lee (9-2, 1-0 UFC).
Repeated takedowns and superior clinch work buoyed the UFC rookie and sank Macedo’s chances. Lee had the Venezuelan taekwondo stylist in danger in all three rounds, nearly finishing Macedo (5-2-1, 0-1-1 UFC) with a rear-naked choke in the first and an arm-triangle choke in the second. “KGB” sealed her counterpart’s fate over the final five minutes, as she climbed to full mount, transitioned to the back and scored with slashing elbows.
Lee, 29, has rattled off five straight victories.
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Luque KOs Laprise Streak
Vicente Luque knocked out “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” winner Chad Laprise in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Laprise (13-3, 6-3 UFC) bowed out 4:16 into Round 1, his three-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
Luque (13-6-1, 6-2 UFC) gave the Canadian pause with persistent left jab-right cross combinations, leg kicks and lead left hooks. As their bout drifted into the latter stages of the first round, he uncorked a short counter left hook that floored Laprise where he stood. A volley of Luque hammerfists followed, forcing referee Marc Goddard to intervene.
The 26-year-old Luque has won six of his last seven fights.
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