The UFC 224 prelims are in the books, ending up with a total of 7 out of 8 bouts ending with a finish! Closing out the prelims, Cezar Ferreira choked Karl Roberson out cold in the final minute of the opening round. Ferreira really showed off his experience by getting Roberson to the ground and making sure that he stayed there. The promotion’s #10 heavyweight Aleksei Oleinik pulled off yet another first round Ezekiel choke, this time on the #14 Junior Albini. This makes over 10 Ezekiel choke wins for Oleinik, his second in the UFC, so this maneuver is far from a fluke.
Davi Ramos overcame being dropped early in the fight to secure himself a RNC on Nick Hein in the final minute of the first round. In a moment of brilliance, Elizeu Zaleski added something to his highlight reel tonight when he clocked Sean Strickland with a spinning heel kick that led to a knockout finish in the first round.
Closing out the Fight Pass prelims, Warlley Alves showed up aggressive yet controlled en route to a doctor stoppage TKO of Sultan Aliev, due to some major swelling around his eye. In what was a super cool comeback, Jack Hermansson overcamewhat he claimed was a rib injury sustained in round two to TKO Thales Leites in the final frame. Ramazan Emeev picked up a rather easy decision win overAlberta Mina in the welterweight division, and opening up the card, Markus Perez snuffed out a first round submission over James Bochnovic to get himself back into the win column.
Cezar Ferreira def. Karl Roberson by technical submission (Arm triangle) at 4:45 of round 1: Middleweight
After eating some damaging leg kicks, Ferreira went after a takedown and took Roberson to the ground. Ferreira successfully controlled the grappling, and when Roberson finally did return to his feet, Ferreira just took him right back down. Full mount was achieved by Ferreira in the final minute of the opening round, followed by an arm triangle that put Roberson to sleep. Wow!
Aleksei Oleinik def. Junior Albini at 1:45 of round 1: Heavyweight
Oleinik closed the distance and pressed his foe up against the fence, but he back out with a cut below his right eye. Oleinik accidentally hit Albini low, so he apologized and reached out to pat the cup of his opponent. Albini landed a left hand and Oleinik responded by locking up his patented Ezekiel choke from the standing position. Albini secured the takedown and landed in half guard, but the choke was locked in, and Albini was forced to tap.
What kind of sorcery is this?
Davi Ramos Nick Hein by submission (RNC) at 4:15 of round 1: Lightweight
Ramos took the center of the cage, but the southpaw left of Hein sat him down. Hein opted to engage on the ground and allowed Ramos to return to his feet, but gave up the takedown because of it. In a fantastic transition, Ramos took the back of his opponent, and patiently waited before attacking a RNC. Ramos didn’t even have to get up under the neck to get the tap because his squeeze is that good.
Look at that squeeze of Ramos:
Hein had Ramos hurt, but couldn’t finish:
Elizeu Zaleski def. Sean Strickland by KO at 3:40 of round 1: Welterweight
Both welterweights were content to duke it out on the feet. Strickland looked to land with his long strikes, jabs and crosses, while Zaleski sat back anticipating his openings for the counter. Wow, and did that counter ever come. Just when Strickland was finding some success with his forward pressure, Zaleski landed a phenomenal spinning heel kick that dropped his opponent. Zaleski pounced right away, landing repeatedly with hammerfists until the referee stepped in and rescued Strickland. Crazy!
Oh no he didn’t:
Check out Zaleski reminding us of that one movie Only The Strong from 1993:
Fight Pass Prelims:
Warlley Alves def. Sultan Aliev by TKO (Doc Stoppage) at 5:00 of round 2: Welterweight
Alves came out aggressive, getting right in the face of his opponent and launching some brutal knees to the midsection. A crushing right hand landed for Alves that staggered Aliev, and nearly connected with a big kick to the body. The opening round definitely belonged to Alves.
Aliev closed the distance early on in the second stanza, but wasn’t able to score with anything before Alves reversed the position. A brief takedown was found for Aliev, but it was extremely brief, and the clinch war continued. The referee had enough of the clinching and when they separated, you could see some serious swelling around the right eye of Aliev. In between the second and third round, the referee brought the doctor in to check out the eye of Aliev, and then shortly after, the bout was called off.
Alves was putting some heat on his strikes:
Jack Hermansson def. Thales Leites by TKO at 2:10 of round 3: Middleweight
Hermansson came out aggressive, looking to do damage with his hands, but Leites was able to close the distance and slow down the pace. Top position was realized by Hermansson on three occasions, but Leites was active enough off of his back to avoid any substantial damage.
Leites found an early takedown within 30 seconds of the second frame, and Hermansson started wincing immediately from what he later revealed to be a rib injury. Leites moved into full mount and locked up an arm triangle, before methodically moving away from the cage in order to torque down on the hold, but Hermansson gutted it out and found away to escape. The entire second round was dominated by Leites.
Top position was reached again for Leites early in the final round and Leites quickly attacked an anaconda choke, but again Hermansson was too tough too quit. Leites would drop back for a guillotine attempt, but Hermansson escaped to find the full mount, and made the most of his opportunity by uncorking some serious ground and pound to get the win.
Check out this crazy comeback from Jack Hermansson:
Ramazan Emeev def. Alberta Mina by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Welterweight
Emeev cracked off early with a solid right hand that got the attention of Mina. Mina seemed to be a step behind of Emeev in the opening round, giving up a few takedowns and eating a few ground strikes. Mina scored a trip takedown with about a minute left in the round and quickly attacked a leg of Emeev, but wasn’t able to make anything happen before time ran out.
Emeev found himself with back control early in the second frame, as Mina continued to appear one step behind. Mina attempted to land a spinning back elbow at one point, but ended up getting tossed to the ground because of it. On the ground is where Mina stayed with Emeev teeing off with a reasonable amount of ground strikes.
The pace continued to be dictated by Emeev in the final round, with Mina continuing to display symptoms of cage rust. Mina mounted a bit of offense in the final 30 seconds, even attempting a rolling thunder kick, but the story of this fight was all Emeev, all the time.
Markus Perez def. James Bochnovic by submission (RNC) at 4:28 of round 1: Middleweight
Bochnovic came out of the gate rushing forward, immediately nullifying his eight inch reach advantage. Perez realized a bodylock takedown and really out-grappled Bochnovic, surfing from position to position before ultimately taking the back and sinking an RNC.
Peep Perez picking up a first round sub: