For the fifth consecutive week, the UFC is back inside its Apex facility on Saturday in Las Vegas, with a UFC Fight Night beginning with prelims at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+, then a main card exclusively on ESPN+ at 9 p.m.
In the main event, former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith (33-15) will look to rebound from one of the worst nights of his career when he takes on up-and-comer Aleksandar Rakic (12-2) of Austria. Smith is less than four months removed from a TKO loss to Glover Teixeira in which he suffered a broken orbital, broken nose and lost multiple teeth.
Saturday’s event also features the return of former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-14), who will make his first appearance of 2020 against Neil Magny (23-7).
Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim recap the action as it happens in Las Vegas.
Fight in progress – Welterweight: Sean Brady (12-0, 2-0 UFC, -420) vs. Christian Aguilera (14-6, 1-0 UFC, +340)
Women’s flyweight: Polyana Viana (11-4) def. Emily Whitmire (4-4) by first-round submission (Watch this fight on ESPN+)
Recap to come.
Strawweight: Mallory Martin (7-3) def. Hannah Cifers (10-7) by second-round submission (Watch this fight on ESPN+)
Martin took Cifers’ back, sunk in a choke, forced Cifers to tap and then let out a blood-curdling scream.
The show of emotion was well-earned. Cifers battered Martin in the first round, nearly finishing her with big punches. In the second, Martin rallied, getting things to the ground and working her grappling. The result was a Martin submission (rear-naked choke) win at 1:33 of the second round.
“I have adversity in my life all the time,” Martin said. “It’s nothing new to me. I come back from it all the time – stronger and stronger.”
Cifers dropped Martin with a right hand in the first and Martin could never recover from there. Cifers slammed her out of guard on the ground and continued an onslaught of punches up against the cage. Martin could only defend — until the second round.
“I was still conscious,” Martin said. “She landed a big shot, whatever. It was good. I’m not gonna take that from her at all. I was still fully in the fight.”
Martin’s corner told her to go back to her game and wisely took things to the ground quickly, working her super Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Martin got into dominant position, took Cifers’ back and then quickly put the squeeze on a choke.
Martin (7-3) has won six of her last seven fights. This was the 26-year-old Colorado native’s first UFC win. Cifers (10-7) has lost four straight — all in 2020. The 28-year-old North Carolina native was on a two-fight winning streak prior to the skid. Cifers missed weight by one pound (117 pounds) Friday for this women’s strawweight fight.
Still to come:
Light heavyweight: Anthony Smith (33-15, 8-4 UFC, +240) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (12-2, 4-1 UFC, -280)
Welterweight: Robbie Lawler (28-14, 9-5 UFC, +200) vs. Neil Magny (23-8, 16-6 UFC, -240)
Women’s flyweight: Alexa Grasso (11-3, 3-3 UFC, -300) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (9-2-2, 3-2 UFC, +250)
Men’s featherweight: Ricardo Lamas (19-8, 10-6 UFC, -300) vs. Bill Algeo (13-4, 0-0 UFC, +250)
Welterweight: Maki Pitolo (13-6, +110) vs. Impa Kasanganay (7-0, 0-0 UFC, -130)
Middleweight: Alessio Di Chirico (12-4, 3-4 UFC, -115) vs. Zak Cummings (23-7, 8-4 UFC, -105)
Catchweight: Alex Caceres (16-12 1 NC, 11-10 1 NC UFC) vs. Austin Springer (10-2, 0-0 UFC)
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