Russian new comer Khabib Nurmagomedov lines up with Brazilian Thiago Tavares.
Heavyweights Gabe Gonzaga and Ben Rothwell return to action.
TUF Alum CB Dollaway squares off with Daniel Sarafian.
The main-event showcases top middleweight contenders Micheal Bisping and Vitor Belfort, as they vie for a title shot.
Khabib Nurmagomedov VS. Thiago Tavares:
The fight started as you’d expect with a feeling out period and some Octagon dancing. Khabib was the first to engage with a stiff, straight left. The two broke and danced a bit more until Khabib re-engaged in an identical fashion. The two broke once more. Khabib then landed a huge left-right combo, and swarmed his prone opponent. It didn’t take long for Khabib to finish the fight.
K. Nurmagomedov def. T. Tavares via KO at 1:55 of round 1.
Gabe Gonzaga VS. Ben Rothwell:
The big guys came out and were tentative to engage right off the bat, but Gonzaga didn’t wait too long before he shot for and achieved a take down. Ben didn’t stay down long, as he regained his feet almost immediately. After Rothwell stood, Gonzaga seemed happy to just hold Ben against the cage. After about a minute of zero action, the two men were separated, so they stood in the center, but Gabe tried to run him right back into the cage. Luckily for the viewers, Ben turned him around. They moved to the center, and Gabe landed three straight rights, but Ben returned an upper-cut of his own. MMAConvert Score 10-9 Gonzaga
Gabe threw an immediate right, and it partially landed. Gabe threw another shot which staggered Ben, and Gabe didn’t waste a second. He pounced with a standing guillotine. Gabe dragged him to the ground where he tapped.
G. Gonzaga def. B. Rothwell via submission (choke) at 1:01 of round 2.
CB Dollaway VS. Daniel Sarafian:
To start, CB took control of the center of the cage and tried to keep Daniel with his back to the cage, but that didn’t last long. The pace slowed until Daniel tagged Dollaway with a punch. CB tried to engage, but Daniel ducked. Daniel then dropped CB, but Dollaway recovered very nicely. Sarafian countered CB twice with one left and one right. CB began to look confused and disheveled, as Daniel began to score more and more points, as CB stayed stagnant. The round ended with Daniel throwing and missing a head kick. MMAConvert Score 10-9 Sarafian.
The second round saw actual offense from CB, as he threw but missed a head kick. Sarafian answered by shoving CB into the cage and hitting him with a few punches. The two moved back to the center of the cage where Daniel tagged and staggered Dollaway, but CB was able to keep himself composed and actually landed a decent body kick. Dollaway ate a mean kick to the face after almost falling, and the two again moved to the center of The Octagon. With a minute to go, Daniel began to dance and taunt a clearly frustrated CB Dollaway. Dollaway hurt Daniel and jumped on Daniel as he took a knee. CB came close to finishing Daniel, but time ran out, and Dollaway stole the round. MMAConvert Score 10-9 Dollaway
Sarafian and Dollaway both engaged with big looping punches. Dollaway ate a big time right hand and returned the favor with a shot that hurt Sarafian. Dollaway wisely took Daniel down where he moved into full mount, but Daniel was able to escape. CB scored another take down right at round 3’s half way point. CB worked his way back to full mount. CB’s gas take might have began to run dry with 1:30ish to go. Sarafian reversed and got himself into full mount. Dollaway gave his back, and Daniel shot for a rear naked. Time became an issue, as Dollaway spun himself into full guard. Daniel spun to stand, but time expired. That was a dead even round. MMAconvert Score 10-9 Dollaway
C. Dollaway def. D. Safarian via Decision (split) (29-28, 29-28 Dollaway) (29-28 Safarian).
Michael Bisping VS. Vitor Belfort
The fight began with the typical lack luster feel out stage big fights usually have. The first real action came at 2:30 as the two finally engaged. Shockingly enough, Belfort seemed reluctant to let his hands go. The general consensus said that the longer the fight went on the more likely Bisping was to win. Bisping threw a spinning punch, but it was ultimately fruitless. Belfort finally opened up and hurt Micheal with a swarm of knees and punches, as the round came to a close. MMAConvert Score 10-9 Belfort
Belfort’s plans to counter became very clear as the second started, but Belfort was largely unsuccessful in his earlier counter attempts. Belfort landed a smashing high kick that sent Micheal down to the mat, Belfort got on top where he put the hurt on quickly and dispatched Bisping.
V. Belfort def. M. Bisping via TKO at 1:27 of round 2.