UFC on ESPN 11 Results and Recap
UFC on ESPN 11 from Apex Facility featured a top ten heavyweight clash and four additional matchups to round out the first Fight Night card this summer.
Wasting little time, powerhouse wrestler Curtis Blaydes dominated no. 7-ranked Alexander Volkov (-390) in a matchup more distant than the final scorecards indicate. Blaydes set early tempo by rag-dolling his lengthier, wispy opponent. The first three rounds saw no. 3-ranked Blaydes control Volkov (+320) from top position, often not needing to set up his takedowns.
Though, in a scant bit of drama, the Russian contender reversed Blaydes to end round four with mounted strikes. The ensuing five minutes produced grinding Blaydes effort as he gasped coming off his stool and momentarily collapsed at the final horn. In a showcase event, the 29-year-old moved to 14-2 scoring a fourth-consecutive win while making his opponent an afterthought.
Scorecards of 48-47 and 48-46 gave Alexander Volkov too much credit as he dropped to 31-8 and lost for the second time in three outings.
Still, Blaydes' (14-2) frayed corners during an otherwise shutout performance showed the Elevation Fight Team member isn't a threat for heavyweight gold. Conditioning, striking and perhaps a sleeker design are needed if Blaydes is to take that final, giant step.
In other action...
Featherweights: Josh Emmett (+140) vs. Shane Burgos (-150)
Emmett came out banging overhand rights off the stationary chin of Shane Burgos. And while those right hands continued flowing, the light favorite buckled Emmett several times with thudding outside leg kicks. Being slightly overwhelmed, Emmett likely stole the first five minutes with applied wrestling pressure.
Round two saw a turning point sway toward Burgos as the Woodbury, New York native mixed in various effective strikes while finding range.
That work was erased, however, when an urgent Josh Emmett floored his man to pull ahead on points. Recovered, Burgos landed an inadvertent groin strike before action resumed with just over three minutes remaining. As the two circled, Emmett again floored Burgos to defy his lengthier opponent’s physical advantages. Emmett’s boxing looked cleaner down the stretch allowing the Team Alpha Male standout to run his win streak to three. Meanwhile, Burgos’ recent unblemished run ended at three Octagon appearances.
Overall, “The Hurricane” out-landed Emmett 155-121. Yet those late knockdowns sealed Burgos’ fate.
Bantamweights: Marion Reneau (+165) vs. Raquel Pennington (-175)
Heated exchanges from both women opened a battle of ranked bantamweights. Pennington absorbed more head shots but landed more kicks than her ageless 43-year-old-opponent. In a tight opening five minutes, Reneau stole momentum by doggedly working for the takedown as time elapsed.
A groin strike halted more excellent standup as period two began. When action resumed Pennington lunged forward striking effectively before again pressed cageside. A Pennington reversal and Muay Thai knees while hand fighting ended in dueling takedowns where the American fighter added more damage. After outstriking and outgrappling Reneau, Pennington won the middle set.
The last five minutes saw a purposed charge from the Brazilian culminating with a brief takedown. When Pennington rose, her standing output resumed. One final Reneau takedown attempt was shrugged as Pennington landed nasty overhands and elbows.
At the final bell, Pennington (10-8) owned a 98-48 significant strikes edge to gain unanimous decision victory. The #6 ranked female bantamweight has won two of three. Meanwhile, on her 43rd birthday Marion Reneau drops to 9-5-1 and takes a second loss in as many fights.
Welterweights: Lyman Good (+113) vs. Belal Muhammad (-123)
Round one featured give-and-take pockets with each man landing crisp flurries. Muhammad did a bit more, out striking Good 30-24 in a razor thin period.
The favorite threw quicker hands before settling on an early middle frame takedown. Unmarked, Good resumed business on his feet but kept taking impactful Muhammad advances. As the round unfolded, however, hard shots found residence for Bellator’s first 170 lbs. champion --yet, Muhammad enjoyed another statistical advantage with the final five minutes upcoming.
A managed cut began free flowing as Good pounded fatigued Muhammad with power overhands to turn things in his favor during third round action. Now loose, Lyman Good continued touching up “Remember the Name” as Muhammad’s takedowns came just in time for a split decision verdict.
Overall, Muhammad out landed Good 86-84 and saved face by taking “American Cyborg’s” back at the final horn.
One half of the Fight of the Night leader, Belal Muhammad’s grit overshadowed the crimson tide caked to his face. And while Good carved dominant moments, landing the more telling shots after finding ways around the Muhammad guard, the vet was outworked early and late in a war that could’ve gone either way.
Muhammad (17-3) has won seven of eight. Good (21-6) has split his last four.
Catch weight: Jim Miller (+210) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (-230)
Tied for the most fights in UFC history, Miller caught Roberts standing early before controlling his younger opponent with top game. As “The Predator” bucked to his feet, Miller hit a lightning arm bar to gain his 18th submission win at 2:55 of round one. The Sparta, New Jersey native has the fourth most subs in UFC history.
Conversely, Roberts (10-2) emphatically bungled his step-up moment to lose for the first time in three fights.
Call it fortune, or thousands of hours spent grappling through all angles, but everything played Saturday in Miller’s favor. Advancing in age, “A-10” should find one more feature matchup before calling it a career.
Joshua Broom's UFC on ESPN 11 picks were 3-2 for the main card portion and 6-5 overall.