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Glendale prelims deliver electric finishes

April 14, 2018

CARLOS JUNIOR vs BOETSCH

Brazil's Antonio Carlos Junior continued to roll in UFC Glendale prelim action at Gila River Arena on Saturday, as he earned his fifth consecutive victory by submitting veteran middleweight contender Tim Boetsch in the first round.


Carlos’ striking has continued to evolve, as he pressured Boetsch and had him on the back foot in the early going. Boetsch soon got into a rhythm, and as he landed some shots, Carlos closed the distance and locked his foe up, looking for a takedown. With a little over a minute left, Carlos slammed Boetsch to the mat and began opening up with strikes, trying to get the opportunity to sink in a rear naked choke.  Soon, he got it, with Boetsch tapping out at 4:28 of round one.

Carlos Junior moves to 11-2 with 1 NC. Boetsch falls to 21-12.

SALIKHOV vs RAINEY

“The King of Kung Fu” got his first UFC victory in his second try, as Muslim Salikhov knocked out Ricky Rainey in the second round of their welterweight bout.

The first round was a close one, with each fighter having their moments in a largely tactical frame, and there was more of the same in the second, with Salikhov slowly pulling away until he put his foot on the gas and landed a right hand on Rainey with under a minute left that put the North Carolina native on the deck. Rainey tried to recover, but two more right hands ended the bout, with referee Chris Tognoni stopping it at 4:12 of round two.

With the win, Dagestan’s Salikhov moves to 14-2. Gastonia’s Rainey falls to 13-5

MORAGA vs REIS

Arizona’s own John Moraga made it three straight wins, as he defeated fellow flyweight contender Wilson Reis via unanimous decision.

Moraga (19-6) started strong, nearly locking in a guillotine choke on Reis, who slammed his way out of trouble and then kept Moraga locked up against the fence until the Arizonan broke free and got back to controlling the action on the feet. Reis surged in the final minute, landing solid strikes to set up a takedown, but it was Moraga scrambling out of trouble before Reis returned the favor at the end of the round.

Reis (22-9) put the fight back on the mat in the second minute of round two, but again, Moraga got loose and upright, and with under two minutes left, he landed a thudding knee, forcing Reis to seek out another takedown. While on the canvas, Reis took Moraga’s back, but by the final 20 seconds, Moraga had taken the top position, and he finished strong with ground strikes.

In the third, Reis was able to take over, as he controlled the action on the mat, but it was too little too late, as Moraga’s early lead held up, as he took the bout via three scores of 29-28.

TAVARES vs JOTKO

Middleweight contender Brad Tavares picked up his fourth consecutive win and he earned his first finish since January 2011, as he halted Krzysztof Jotko in the third round.


Tavares’ pressure and right served him well in the first two rounds, and while Jotko was competitive throughout, he was a step behind most of the time until he started to find a rhythm late in the second. But Tavares put an end to Jotko’s momentum and the fight in the third, with a right hand out of nowhere decking the Poland native. The follow-up barrage brought in referee Al Guinee to wave off the bout. The official time of the stoppage was 2:16.

The No. 15-ranked Tavares moves to 17-5 with the win. The No. 13-ranked Jotko falls to 19-4.

BURNS vs MORET

Brazilian lightweight standout Gilbert Burns picked up his second consecutive knockout win, halting Octagon newcomer Dan Moret in the second round.

Burns used his standup game aggressively in the first round until he got caught by a right hand from Moret with a little over 90 seconds left. That prompted Burns to seek – and get – a takedown, but in the second round, “Durinho” went back to his striking attack, and this time, he got the finish he wanted, as he hurt Moret with a right hand and then went all-in until a right uppercut dropped the Minnesotan and ended the bout. The official time of referee Nic Jones’ stoppage was :59 of round two.

Burns moves to 13-2 with the win. Moret falls to 13-4.

MUELLER vs DOBSON

Lauren Mueller followed up her win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series with a victory in her Octagon debut, as she earned a close, but unanimous, decision over Ultimate Fighter vet Shana Dobson.

Scores were 29-28 across the board for Mueller, now 5-0. Dobson falls to 3-2.

Dobson did good work with her jab in the opening round, and after a slow start, Mueller settled in and began countering well. But in the second, Dobson regained control, sticking and moving with ease. In the final minute, Mueller rocked her foe with a hard right to the nose, but Dobson shook it off and got back to business by round’s end.

Mueller started fast in the final round, landing several hard shots, but Dobson was able to slow the Californian down with a takedown. Mueller rose quickly and the flyweights proceeded to grapple against the fence until there were under three minutes left. Then the two broke briefly, with Mueller then catching a kick and putting Dobson on the mat briefly. With a minute left, Dobson hurt Mueller with a body shot, but wasn’t able to get her foe out of there before the final horn.

OKAMI vs LIMA

In his first UFC bout at welterweight, Yushin Okami put on a clinic of ground control against Dhiego Lima, winning a shutout three-round decision.

All three rounds followed an identical pattern of Okami taking Lima to the mat and controlling him there for much of each five-minute period. Simply put, Lima had no answers for the swarming style of the former middleweight title challenger, making the judges’ job an easy one, as they rendered identical scores of 30-26.

Kanagawa’s Okami moves to 35-11 with the win. Atlanta’s Lima falls to 14-7.

WIECZOREK vs BHULLAR

Poland’s Adam Wieczorek handed highly-touted Arjan Singh Bhullar his first pro loss and he did so with a historic move, as he finished Bhullar with only the second omoplata submission in UFC history.

Bhullar (7-1) stunned Wieczorek with a left hand as the bout opened, and he quickly took his foe to the mat. Bhullar kept Wieczorek grounded until the final minute, when referee Al Guinee restarted the action, but Wieczorek wasn’t able to do enough to steal the round back.

Wieczorek (9-2) scored well with leg kicks to begin round two, but this time it was a right hand by Bhullar that got the Poland native’s attention and allowed the Canadian to score another takedown. But this time, Wieczorek was able to work his way into an omoplata, and Bhullar was forced to tap at 1:59.

Ben Saunders submitted Chris Heatherly via omoplata in August 2014.

PEREZ vs LOPEZ

TUF Latin America winner Alejandro Perez extended his current unbeaten streak to six, picking up an impressive second-round finish over Matthew Lopez in bantamweight action.

A heated standup exchange resulted in a takedown by Lopez and nearly a finish, as he took his foe’s back and went for a rear naked choke. But Perez got free, reversed position, and the two stood. While standing, Lopez landed a hard kick and punch and took Perez down again. Once more, the Arizona native took Perez’ back, but Perez defended well.

In the second, the action was competitive, but with less than two minutes remaining, Perez fought off a takedown and, in the process, he landed a pair of knees that rocked Lopez. Lopez tried to get his legs back under him, but Perez was patient in his follow-up attack, ultimately landing enough blows for referee Nic Jones to stop the bout at 3:42 of round two.

Estado de Mexico’s Perez moves to 21-6-1 with the win. Lopez falls to 10-3.

SANDERS vs WILLIAMS

Bantamweight prospect Luke Sanders snapped a two-fight losing streak in the opener, taking a three-round unanimous decision over Patrick Williams.

Sanders was on target early and often with his left hand, dropping Williams in the second minute and later cutting him. Williams tried to get the fight to the mat to halt Sanders’ momentum, but it was to no avail.

Williams got his takedown in the second, but before that, he got himself back in the bout with a pair of right hands that jarred Sanders and cut him. And even though the Floridian was clearly tired, the tide had turned in his favor.

The third was close, but Sanders landed the more telling blows, allowing him to take the bout by scores of 30-27 twice and 29-28.

With the win, Nashville’s Sanders moves to 12-2. Homestead’s Williams falls to 8-6.