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UFC Gdansk results and highlights: Held outlasts Haqparast, Fili beats Lobov

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Check out the results of the seven preliminary card bouts at UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Till in Gdansk, Poland.

The UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Till preliminary card is in the books. Fans in Gdansk, Poland saw Josh Emmett turn in a successful debut at featherweight, Aspen Ladd overcome a slow start to finish Lina Lansberg, Warlley Alves win a plodding match over Salim Touhari, Andre Fili defeat Artem Lobov in an entertaining fight, Ramazan Emeev win his first UFC fight in an absolute stinker vs. Sam Alvey, Brian Kelleher get a TKO vs. Damian Stasiak, and Marcin Held got a harder-than-expected victory vs. Nasrat Haqparast. Here’s how the fights played out.

Marcin Held def. Nasrat Haqparast by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) – Lightweights

The confident-looking Haqparast looked to land the straight left from southpaw position, but Held “held” his own on the feet and scored with some of his own quality strikes. The former Bellator LW champion sought the takedown, but the German did everything in his power to prevent it. Held finally had Haqparast down and in full guard, but did very little in the minute or so that he was on top.

A big left hand by Haqparast knocked Held down, and then Held attacked with an armbar but Haqparast got out of the guard. Haqparast had string on his trunks that needed to be cut off, so time was briefly called. Held appeared to be hurt again with a left hand, but Held answered with a spinning backfist. Haqparast used the head-and-arm throw to put Held on his back, but Held went for an ankle lock and swept his way to side control. Held maintained top position for a prolonged period of time, but wasn’t particularly close to a submission or landing any damaging shots.

Held took Haqparast down early in the final frame, and again he searched for the ankle lock, to no avail. Another heel hook was unsuccessful, but he was passing Haqparast’s guard and was in control on the mat, where he is notoriously dangerous. Held passed to side control, then full mount, but Haqparast tried to escape through the backdoor, and Held countered with an armbar. Haqparast fended it off and got back to his feet. Held pulled guard and Haqparast did next to nothing while on top. Haqparast fired off some power shots in hopes for a KO, and he sprawled on Held’s last few takedown attempts. Held gets his first UFC win in four attempts, while Haqparast had a nice effort in his Octagon debut.

Brian Kelleher def. Damian Stasiak by TKO (strikes) at 3:39 of round 3 – Bantamweights

Stasiak hurt Kelleher with a spinning back kick to the body, and the Polish fighter rushed forward with a flurry of strikes to set up a takedown, which Kelleher stuffed. Kelleher did well to catch Stasiak with a hard right hand and then an uppercut. The New Yorker dropped down for an arm-in guillotine, but Stasiak escaped. Kelleher was in Stasiak’s guard for the rest of the opening stanza.

Kelleher had the edge in terms of power strikes through the beginning of round 2. A shovel hook by Kelleher snapped Stasiak’s head back, but Kelleher was hurt again by a spinning back kick. Kelleher landed a jumping knee while Stasiak grabbed hold of his other leg going for a takedown, and then Kelleher gained op position on the ground. Stasiak escaped, but he was bloodied and looking labored. Hard knees by Kelleher looked to have staggered his Polish foe, and there was no doubt that he was in control of things in round 2.

Kelleher continued to attack the compromised nose of Stasiak, drilling him with a hard knee before rolling for a submission. He bailed on that and gained half-guard, but Stasiak reversed position and got a body lock. Stasiak’s offense was minimal and he was clearly fading, even as he tried fighting back. Kelleher rocked Stasiak with a right hand and then dropped him with a left. Hammerfists and follow-up punches led to the referee’s intervention, as Kelleher picked up the TKO in enemy territory to improve to 2-1 inside the Octagon. Stasiak has lost two straight, and this is the first stoppage defeat of his career.

Ramazan Emeev def. Sam Alvey by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) – Middleweights

Emeev was the aggressor throughout the first round and landed the harder punches, but Alvey held steady in the clinch until Emeev got the takedown in the final minute. Emeev rocked Alvey with a series of power punches in the final minute to comprehensively take the round. Even by Alvey’s low-output standards, he looked flat and unsure of himself, while Emeev was connecting at a very high rate. Alvey fired off a couple of leg kicks, but Emeev pressured and let his hands go to halt any more offense from “Smile’n” Sam. The referee warned them both for lack of action (aka timidity), much to the crowd’s delight.

It was a clinch battle in round 3, with Emeev unable to get the takedown and Alvey only offering knees on offense. Most of Emeev’s gameplan was to punch and then rush into the clinch, then drop for a single-leg. Alvey was scarcely throwing punches and mostly finding his success at range via leg kicks. They tagged each other with hard punches, then Emeev tried to take the back while standing but was unable to. An abysmal fight with a clear winner, as Emeev wins his UFC debut. Alvey has now dropped two of three.

Andre Fili def. Artem Lobov by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) – Featherweights

Fili immediately started with a body kick and a leg kick. Lobov clocked Fili with a hard straight left in what was a fast-paced opening minute. Andre made the most of his nine-inch reach advantage and worked from the outside, and one of his punches cut Lobov on the left side of his face. With teammate Conor McGregor shouting instructions from cageside, Lobov fizzed in a nice body kick, but Fili countered with a short right hand. Fili ate a straight left and then returned fire with a jab. Lobov was kicking more often towards the end of the opening round, but it was Fili’s head kick that caused a big knockdown. Fili had a headlock but couldn’t get the submission, and a wobbly Lobov survived the danger.

Lobov seemed to have problems with the movement of Fili, so he tried to slow it down with more leg kicks. The head strikes were decidedly in Fili’s favor, especially from range. Lobov landed a hard uppercut, then Fili retaliated with two lefts. Both men had a lot of success in terms of clean strikes, with Lobv performing better than he did in the previous round. Fili switched things up and took Lobov down, but action was halted as Marc Goddard effectively told Conor McGregor to be quiet, as he wasn’t an actual cornerman. Definitely a tight round to score, as it was as back-and-forth as it looked on paper.

Fili hit a reactive takedown in the opening minute of round 3, moving to half-guard and staying busy with body shots. An ankle lock sweep put Lobov back to his feet, where he cracked Fili with a hard left hok, then Fili dumped him on the canvas again with another takedown. As well as Lobov did to not take a bunch of damage off of his back and indeed get back up, Lobov’s wrestling defense failed him time and time again, which sealed a victory for Fili. “Touchy” Fili moves to 5-4 in his UFC career, while Lobov is 2-4.

Warlley Alves def. Salim Touahri by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) – Welterweights

There wasn’t much to separate the two fighters in the initial 2-3 minutes, but Alves rocked Touahri with a pair of uppercuts and then took the late-replacement down. The TUF Brazil 3 winner unsuccessfully tried to take the back and Touahri returned to his feet. Alves suffered a cut under his right eye after Touahri landed a left hand in round 2, but Warlley was having more overall success in terms of power shots. Touahri’s attacks primarily focused on the body, whereas Alves was headhunting. It certainly wasn’t scintillating stuff through the first ten minutes. Warlley threw a series of kicks to begin the final round, but with 3:25 to go Touahri got hit in the groin and needed some time to recover. Alves steadily pushed the pace and he mixed his kicks up, going to the legs as well as upstairs. A late takedown by Alves momentarily put Touahri on the seat of his pants, and by the time Touahri was fully upright, time had expired. Alves snaps a two-fight losing skid at the expense of Poland’s Touahri, who drops to 10-2 in his career.

Aspen Ladd def. Lina Lansberg by TKO (strikes) at 2:33 of round 2 – Women’s Bantamweights

Most of the opening round was contested in the clinch, with Lansberg landing the better knees. Lina used her Muay Thai skills effectively and mixing up knees with elbows, as Ladd offered up very little offense. The referee separated them briefly, but Lansberg fought her way back into the clinch to close out a strong first round.

On the advice of her corner, Ladd took the fight to the ground and put Lansberg on her back. Ladd advanced to full mount, but Lansberg was able to get it back to quarter-guard, then half-guard. Aspen teed off with an onslaught of ground-and-pound (all whilst screaming) and that was the end of the fight. It’s a UFC debut win for Ladd and a second loss in three fights for Lansberg.

Josh Emmett def. Felipe Arantes by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25) – Featherweights

Emmett struck first by knocking Arantes down with a right hand. The American stayed away from the Brazilian’s guard and called him back to his feet. Another right hand floored Arantes, and this time he went into his guard in search of a finish. When that didn’t come, he stood back up and continued to tee off on Arantes. A third right hand decked Arantes, who looked totally overmatched. When they returned to their feet, they both traded big shots in the pocket. Arantes was knocked down for a fourth time off the same punch, and this was just over three minutes in. Felipe did clip Emmett with a flying knee but failed on a takedown attempt. It was as lopsided a round as you could get without a finish.

Round 2 had a decidedly different tone to it, as Emmett was neither as active nor as accurate with his right hand. Arantes worked behind his jab and some knees of the counter, and Emmett’s punches didn’t have as much steam behind them. Emmett completed a double-leg takedown as the middle frame came to a close.

Emmett started round 3 by stinging Arantes with another overhand right, but Arantes answered with a nice combination. Arantes was countered with another hard right hand, as Emmett recaptured some of the success he had in round 1. The knees of Arantes kept finding Emmett’s head, but the great moments for him were too few and far between. A comprehensive win for Emmett in his featherweight debut, as he improved to 3-1 in the UFC. Arantes has now lost two straight.

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