UFC prelims Saturday featured three finishes.
Pete Rodriguez starched Mike Jackson before Mana Martinez’s drubbing of Brandon Davis.
Keep scrolling to see highlights from six bouts that preceded the main card in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS — UFC returned to its Apex TV studio after a week-long break to film a Fight Night event in Las Vegas for ESPN+, and boy did it start with a bang.
Pete Rodriguez and Mike Jackson threw slugs in a welterweight opener and, though it was scheduled for three rounds, not even one was fully needed as Rodriguez closed the show early.
Rodriguez roughed his opponent up with body shots, cracked his skull clean with precise punching, and floored him with a horrific knee to the face.
Jackson’s legs were buckled as he appeared bent backward. He was unconscious, and he lay motionless for at least one minute — almost as long as the actual fight lasted, at 93 seconds.
Eventually, the Apex crowd began to clap as Jackson gradually regained his senses.
And, with him appearing in good shape once again, replays of the devastating finish got replayed on the big screens.
Watch it right here:
Jackson made a brief statement on Twitter shortly after his crushing defeat.
“Well, that hurt,” he said, in a post that accompanied a photo in which he appeared to be receiving further medical attention.
The prelims featured two other finishes
In the very next fight, Tatsuro Taira forced C.J. Vergara to tap with a second-round armbar having transitioned into that technique from a rear-naked choke, in their 129-pound catchweight bout.
Watch the submission here:
Joanderson Brito scored one of the preliminary card’s early finishes with a first-round rear-naked choke that submitted Lucas Alexander in their featherweight bout.
Watch Brito’s win below:
In the penultimate bout on the prelims, Jacob Malkoun overcame Nick Maximov’s power punching in the opener, a round in which he suffered a knockdown, to rally with strong work of his own.
Maximov was well-supported Octagon-side, with numerous members of his fight team — MMA cult hero Nate Diaz included — filming the action and shouting words of encouragement.
Suddenly, though, one of his training partners said, “Why’s Nick wincing?”
And, soon enough, it became apparent Maximov was fighting through an injury that was troubling him considerably.
With each minute that passed in the fight, the more damage Maximov seemed to do to himself as he tried to continue despite a bad knee.
Though he was able to defend himself, the momentum had shifted considerably as Malkoun was in the ascendancy, stealing the first round despite Maximov’s strong work in the opening minute, before continuing to trouble the Californian in the second.
By the end, Malkoun had done enough to secure the win with a clean sweep of 30-27 scores from the three judges.
One of the best fights was saved for last when Mana Martinez kept clobbering Brandon Davis but, bizarrely, seemed to let him off the hook by failing to follow up and put his opponent away for good.
Between the second and third rounds, Martinez’s coach James Kraus implored his fighter to hunt the finish.
That finish never came, though, despite some impressively varied striking from Mana.
By the end, Martinez earned more than a decision win that split the judges — but the right man won.
The UFC Fight Night prelims was broadcast Saturday on ESPN+.
A women’s flyweight fight involving Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo topped the card.
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