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UFC Denver main card results and highlights: Maycee Barber introduces herself with bloody TKO win

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After an exciting prelim card, UFC Fight Night: The Korean Zombie vs. Rodriguez rolled on in Denver, CO. The first four fights didn’t have all the fireworks that we saw on the prelims, but a few fighters distinguished themselves and put their divisions on notice.

The best of the bunch was 20-year-old debutante Maycee Barber, who was fighting in her hometown. She obliterated a game Hannah Cifers, finishing the fight in the second round with brutal ground and pound. She capped off the performance with a memorable moment on the mic, calling out fellow hot prospect Mackenzie Dern.

The main card also saw Germaine de Randamie outclass Raquel Pennington, Beneil Dariush dominate Thiago Moises, and TUF winner Michael Trizano hand Luis Pena his first pro loss.

Check out the complete results below:

FS1 main card:

Bantamweight: Germaine de Randamie def. Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Pennington started the fight with an almost fake-out of de Randamie during the ceremonial glove touch, rushing forwards with a flurry — which the Iron Lady avoided. De Randamie got back at Pennington with a crisp right hand, which provoked Pennington into clinching. De Randamie weathered Pennington against the fence and then reversed the position and adopted her very familiar Thai Plum clinch, which she used to land a couple of hard knees. Pennington was able to put de Randamie’s back onto the fence again, but de Randamie broke away soon after and landed another clean shot.

De Randamie looked spry in the second, catching Pennington with more punches and avoiding an early takedown attempt. Pennington then looked to lunge at de Randamie, but she was sluggish and de Randamie landed hard counter shots. Pennington was able to push de Randamie back up against the fence, but she didn’t land much meaningful offense there. De Randamie eventually separated and landed another hard shot on the way out.

De Randamie looked a step ahead of Pennington in the opening moments of round three. After walking Pennington down, de Randamie landed a hard leg kick and missed on a question mark kick. Pennington continued to throw punches in bunches, but de Randamie was able to slip them and land shots of her own in return. Pennington found success pressuring de Randamie against the fence and landed good knees to the body, but she was unable to execute on a level change and takedown attempt. With a minute left, de Randamie and Pennington traded in the centre and Pennington again pushed de Randamie back against the fence. In the clinch both fighters landed knees, but Pennington was unable to get the takedown she was desperately seeking.

In the end all three judges gave the fight to de Randamie, who had doubled up Pennington with significant strikes.

Lightweight: Beneil Dariush def. Thiago Moises via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26).

Dariush started the first round with a few kicks to Moises’ body before closing distance. As Dariush approached, Moises jumped guard and tried a guillotine choke. But Dariush got out of that, and a leg lock attempt, and tried to take the Brazilian’s back. Moises stood firm, tried, and failed, on a few trip attempts and then went back to the guillotine. Dariush shucked that one off easier that the first and then started to ground and pound Moises against the fence. Moises got up, but Dariush wrapped him up again and eventually bundled Moises back to the ground. In the final moments of the round Dariush achieved full mount and landed some mostly blocked punches.

Dariush got Moises down quickly in round two. From Moises full guard, Dariush threw big elbows, but they found a lot of shoulder and forearm. Moises popped up after a minute, but Dariush was right back on him. Against the fence Dariush looked for back control, but settled for some knees to Moises’ glutes. Dariush eventually got Moises’ back and he nearly sunk in a rear naked choke before the round came to a close.

In the third, Dariush opened with a kick to the body, but Moises responded with a big right hand to Dariush’s jaw. A clinch followed, with Dariush again bossing the action. Moises pulled guard and tried yet another guillotine, but he just couldn’t keep it locked. On the ground, Dariush threw strikes from Moises’ half-guard, but nothing seemed to hurt Moises. During a scramble, Dariush took Moises back, locked in a body triangle, and began hunting for a rear naked choke — with plenty of time remaining. Moises defended the position well, but was no threat to Dariush, who rode out the round and took the lopsided decision victory.

Strawweight: Maycee Barber def. Hannah Cifers via TKO (punches), Round 2 (2:01).

Cifers came out positively opposite the hometown favourite Barber, peppering her with leg kicks. But Barber absorbed them and then came forwards throwing combinations. A scramble put both women against the fence, trading position and knees on the inside. In the middle of the Octagon Cifers ducked under one head kick and was then just caught by a second, which elicited a smile. More clinching followed, with Barber landing elbows and a foot stomp. Cifers caught the DWTNCS product on the break with a short hook. Barber responded with some big punches of her own and an elbow against the fence as the first round ended.

In round two, both women seemed happy to trade in the pocket. Though, Barber’s shots landed with far more authority, opening a cut over Cifer’s left eyebrow in the process. After a scramble, Barber wound up over top of Cifers, landing big elbows to the bloodied Cifer. Cifers was wearing a crimson mask when Barber sat down in top position and started wailing away with punches. It was too much for Cifers, who was saved (a little late) by the referee.

Lightweight: Michael Trizano def. Luis Pena via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27).

Pena looked to keep Trizano at range early on with kicks and long punches. But Trizano was still able to land hard leg kicks. Half way in, Pena shot and took Trizano to the fence. Both fighters battled back and forth for underhooks. They separated and Pena launched a jumping knee that almost caught Trizano. The TUF winner then jumped guard and tried to guillotine Pena, but ended up giving Pena top position. Trizano was able to get up, but he spent the last seconds of the round defending a standing kimura attempt.

In the second round Pena started off by potshotting Trizano with jabs. Trizano responded with more leg kicks and heavy, but errant, hooks. Pena went for a takedown, after losing some exchanges, and ate some short elbows to the temple. Pena then climbed on Trizano’s back, where he worked for a body triangle. Trizano tried to shake Pena off, but Pena adjusted and stayed put. Trizano sunk to the ground and Pena came close to a rear naked choke. However, Trizano was able to spin and wound up on top of Pena in the last minute of the round. From there he tried to land ground and pound, while defending against the long legs of Pena.

Trizano started the final round with an overhand that snapped back Pena’s head. Pena shook his head at the punch, and the offense Trizano continued to throw at him. Pena whiffed on a takedown attempt. Trizano then glanced him with a head kick, which Pena again shook his head at. With under three minutes on the clock Pena got the takedown and worked away inside Trizano’s full guard. However, Trizano popped up and then slung Pena to the ground. On top Trizano tried to rain down punches, but the awkward Pena prevented anything from landing and eventually reversed the position. The last minute was spent on the feet with Trizano landing the harder, and more frequent, shots. Ultimately, the persistent striking of Trizano was probably enough to win two scorecards.

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