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Jan Blachowicz bolstered his resume with a victory over a big name but appeared to do little to improve his standing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division.
The former KSW champion kept his name near the top of the 205-pound ladder with a split decision over Ronaldo Souza in the UFC Fight Night 164 headliner on Saturday at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. All three cageside judges struck 29-28 scorecards, two of them siding with Blachowicz (25-8, 8-5 UFC) -- a man who has now posted six wins across his last seven outings.
Neither fighter endeared himself to those in attendance. Blachowicz poked and prodded with jabs, leg kicks and occasional body blows, while Souza (26-8, 9-5 UFC) ran through a seemingly endless loop of clinches and failed takedown attempts in a forgettable light heavyweight debut. The Pole connected on the only real meaningful shot of the fight in the fifth round, where he had Souza stumbling around with a right uppercut. However, a finish never seemed to be within reach.
Rua-Craig Results in Split Draw
Onetime Pride Fighting Championships grand prix winner and former UFC champion Mauricio Rua fought to a split draw with Paul Craig in the three-round light heavyweight co-main event. Scores were 29-28 for Rua, 29-28 for Craig and 28-28.
A short-notice substitution for the injured Sam Alvey, Craig (12-4-1, 4-4-1 UFC) raced out to a fast start in the first round, as he countered a takedown from the Brazilian with a whizzer, set up a standing guillotine and then unloaded with power punches along the fence. Rua (26-11-1, 10-9-1 UFC) responded in the middle stanza, where he struck for a takedown and battered the former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts titleholder with hammerfists and short punches. Round 3 was difficult to score. Craig bailed on a takedown, accepted bottom position and seemed content to strike from his back. Rua remained on top for much of the frame but offered little in the way of meaningful offense. Craig rose to his feet in the waning moments, cut loose with his hands and delivered a takedown of his own, ultimately settling for a draw.
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Surging Oliveira Wrecks Gordon
A rampaging Charles Oliveira took care of former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Jared Gordon with punches in the first round of their featured lightweight attraction. Gordon (15-4, 3-3 UFC) succumbed to blows 1:26 into Round 1, as he lost for the third time in four outings.
Oliveira (28-8, 16-8 UFC) lured the Roufusport rep to the floor inside the first minute, then reset himself in an upright position. He caught Gordon moving forward, dropped him to his knees with a counter right hand and then leveled him with a right uppercut when he attempted to stand. One last follow-up right hand from Oliveira prompted referee Osiris Maia to act.
The 30-year-old Oliveira has rattled off six straight victories, all of them finishes.
Muniz Sinks Fellow Debutant Arroyo
Tata Fight Team representative Andre Muniz made a successful Octagon debut and extended his winning streak to five fights with a unanimous decision over Antonio Arroyo in a three-round middleweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Muniz (19-4, 1-0 UFC).
Arroyo (9-3, 0-1 UFC) enjoyed his time on the feet but too often drifted into his counterpart’s domain. Muniz secured takedowns in all three rounds, stealing away momentum on more than one occasion. He had Arroyo in danger in the second round, where he advanced to the back, cemented his position with a body triangle and threatened with a neck crank before climbing to full mount. Muniz delivered another takedown in the third, progressed to half guard and applied his ground-and-pound with short punches. Arroyo later escaped to his feet but allowed his fellow Dana White’s Contender Series graduate to stall from the butt scoot position.
The setback halted Arroyo’s run of consecutive victories at five.
Replacement Turman Outmuscles Perez
A smothering clinch, power punching bursts and late takedowns paired with ground-and-pound carried Wellington Turman to a unanimous decision over former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Markus Perez in a three-round middleweight feature. A short-notice replacement for Jack Marshman, Turman (16-3, 1-1 UFC) drew 30-27 scores from all three judges.
Perez (12-3, 2-3 UFC) leaned heavily on spinning attacks, some of which landed and some of which did not. Turman started to put his stamp on the fight in the second round, where he opened a cut near his opponent’s right eye while corralling him along the fence. He executed a takedown early in Round 3, moved to side control and bled time off the clock. A late surge from Perez fell short in the closing seconds.
Turman, 23, has won five of his past six bouts.
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