No. 8 ranked welterweight fighter Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (18-4) used his dominance on the ground to grab a decision victory over No. 9 contender Neil “Haitian Sensation” Magny (24-9) in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Wednesday night, January 20 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Chiesa asserted his grappling dominance and did enough work in all 5 rounds to take his fourth straight victory.
“I’m just glad I was able to show some new wrinkles in my game,” Chiesa said. “I showed you guys that I’m improving and dangerous.
“It feels good to get my first four-fight win streak in the UFC and get my first main event win. It’s surreal. I’m getting closer to my dream, I want to end this year as the No. 1 contender,” he added.
Magny, however, had his moment in the 3rd round and showcased his own grappling prowess, but Chiesa rallied back and ended up in a dominant position just more than a minute before the championship rounds started.
“[Magny’s] an unbreakable guy,” said Chiesa. “He’s as tough as they come. His strength is cardio and I was able to stay on pace with him. We pushed each other to our limits. He’s a great human being and competitor.”
With his hot streak, Chiesa now looks to crack in the top 5 of the welterweight rankings and believes No. 1 contender Colby Covington should be his next opponent.
“I want fights in the top 5. I think Colby is the toughest fight for me stylistically, physically and mentally,” he said.
In the co-main event, Warlley Alves (15-4) made quick work of Mounir “Sniper” Lazzez (10-2) and finish the fight via knockout in the very 1st round.
The Brazilian brawler came out aggressively and immediately clinched and pushed Lazzez against the cage. Lazzez landed a clean spinning elbow, but it was the flurry of body kicks from Alves that finished the bout.
“I feel happy. I worked a lot. This is my moment,” said Alves. “This was my game plan, to throw kicks. I kicked him twice and he was hurt, so I kicked him again. He’s a sniper and snipers need distance. I fought him close. I’m back. That is all.”
This is Alves’ first trip to the octagon since tapping out against Randy Brown in November 2019.
Meanwhile, Ike “Hurricane” Villanueva (17-11) put up a spectacular finish with his vicious one-punch, walk-off knockout in the 2nd round of the light heavyweight bout against Vinicius “Mamute” Moreira (9-5).
Both fighters engaged in a striking match on the opening round as Villanueva settled with his combinations and clean body punches. But Moreira found himself off-guard in the 2nd round and absorbed the right hand of Villanueva that eventually put him to sleep.
This is now Villanueva’s first victory since losing both of his fights last year, while Moreira’s losing streak extended to 4.
Omari “Wolverine” Akhmedov (21-5-1) opened up the main card with an impressive submission victory against Tom Breese (12-3) in the 2nd round of the fight.
Akhmedov started up on fire and threw heavy blows in the 1st round while Breese was on the ground. Breese, though, managed to come out strong at the end of the round with his submission attempts.
But Akhmedov took the upper hand in the 2nd round as he positioned well on the ground to lock in the arm-triangle choke that ended the fight.
In the preliminary round, Khabib’s cousin, Umar Nurmagomedov (13-0) maintained his unbeaten record and picked up a second-round submission victory in his UFC debut against Sergey Morozov (16-4). – Rappler.com