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UFC Phoenix results and highlights: Gracie wins debut by sub, Luque TKO’s Barberena in epic war

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On the UFC Phoenix main card, the company’s #11 ranked strawweight Cortney Casey go the distance with the #12 ranked Cynthia Calvillo. The bout was competitive throughout, but it was Calvillo who earned herself the decision victory. Calvillo has now won two-straight and moves herself up the ladder. She called out top-5 115-pounder Tatiana Suarez in her post-fight interview. Before that, Kron Gracie made good on his promotional debut with a first-round submission of UFC mainstay Alex Caceres. Gracie by sub? Who would have guessed it? The UFC noob advances to 5-0, all by way of submission.

Also on the main card, Vicente Luque and Bryan Barberena went blow for blow, toe to toe, like whoa! Back and forth they battled with each man landing and absorbing strikes alike. The fight was up for grabs in the closing moments of the final round, but Luque went H.A.M. with a combo that sent Barberena crashing to the floor. The followup ground strikes sealed the deal with only six-seconds remaining in the match. Luque is quite good and is now riding a four-fight winning streak. He should be getting a higher ranked opponent after this.

Kicking off the ESPN main card, Andre Fili leaned on his jousting jab to pick up the unanimous decision win over UFC veteran Myles Jury. FIli has won three of his last four, and spoke about title aspirations in his post-fight interview.

ESPN main card:

Cynthia Calvillo def. Cortney Casey by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Strawweight

Calvillo scored early in the clinch as Casey brought the forward pressure. A lot of measuring went on after that. Each fighter was looking to find their range. Calvillo got the better of some of the exchanges, landing clean with counters both to the head and body. Calvillo continued to find success dipping her head off of the centerline and throwing her hands in the second round. Casey was able to shrug off the first takedown attempt of the round, and free herself from the follow up tries as well. Casey landed a few kicks and punches late, but the quality punches were on the side of Calvillo.

Casey kept her kicking game going in the third round, and started to pour on some volume. Calvillo responded with a clinch, but Casey managed to escape to the center of the Octagon. Calvillo was unable to get a takedown and Casey kept up with her output. The fighters brawled it out in the pocket for the final ten seconds of the fight, with both strawweights landing some blows.

Kron Gracie def. Alex Caceres by submission (RNC) at 2:06 of round 1: Featherweight

Gracie hit a classic Gracie front kick to body lock early in round one, bring the fight over to the fence. It was only a matter of time before the fight hit the ground and Gracie had the back. Caceres fought the hands, but the squeeze proved to be too much and Caceres tapped out. Easy day!

Vicente Luque def. Bryan Barberena by TKO at 4:54 of round 3: Welterweight

Luque pressured Barberena backwards right away. Some gorgeous punching combinations scored for Luque but Barberena stayed in there. Luque was on! His punches came so crisp and fluid, but Barberena had a heavy punch up his sleeve. Barberena dropped his foe and instantly jumped on him. Luque cleverly took the back and worked for an RNC. Barberena was in deep, but gutted it out and dropped some ground strikes before the bell sounded.

Barberena tee’d off early in the second round, as Luque covered up looking to counter. Both men were landing punches and then elbows when in close range. Back and forth they went, taking turns striking each other and absorbing blows. The ensued! Slugging it out, Luque strung together a late combo that rocked his opponent, but Barberena hung on and made it out of the round.

The third round was no different! The warriors went strike for strike, with each man showing off loads of toughness. Barberena was landing more of the strikes but Luque was landing the harder strikes. Down the stretch, Luque dug deep and put on a flurry that dropped Barberena to the ground. Luque followed up with ground strikes that prompted the referee to stop the bout before time expired.

Andre Fili def. Myles Jury by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Featherweight

Fili came out pumping his jab to set up his right cross as Jury was content to be second. Jury wore some early blood on his nose, courtesy of the jab of Fili. Jury didn’t let off a ton of volume, but he did briefly stun Fili with a sharp cross. It was strong round for Fili.

Jury got more active in the second round, throwing more and landing more. Fili stuck with his jab and the featherweights exchanged straight strikes back and forth. Jury pulled out a spinning backfist that sent Fili crashing to the floor. The finish didn’t materialize for Jury, but he was able to close out the round on top.

The jab continued to be there for Fili in the final frame while Jury looked to land his left hook. The jabs started to pile up for Fili causing Jury to continue to bleed from the nose. There weren’t a ton of power punches exchanged down the stretch, but the volume jabs of Fili did their job nonetheless.

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