The UFC Fight Night: Ottawa main event between Donald Cerrone and Al Iaquinta will determine which fighter has a claim at being a legit title contender in the stacked lightweight division.
But before the “Cowboy “and “Raging Al” put on what is expected to be an entertaining fight, there are other matchups of importance on Saturday night’s card. Here’s how they’re going down.
Harris blows past Spivak in quick KO
Heavyweight Walt Harris (12-7) added a 50-second knockout to his résumé, over the formerly undefeated Sergey Spivak (9-1).
Harris, 35, has had an up-and-down career since he debuted with the UFC in 2013. He briefly lost his spot with the promotion in 2014, and has never enjoyed a winning streak longer than two.
Saturday’s performance was a welcome one for the boxing-heavy martial artist. He immediately put Spivak on the defensive with a lead left hand, and followed it with a flurry along the fence that had the Ukrainian heavyweight covering up. It was Harris’ fifth win in the UFC — and when he has won, he’s had no trouble putting opponents away. All five of his wins are via TKO.
“I know my hand speed is the best in the division,” Harris said. “When I let them go, they don’t know what’s happening.”
Sanchez survives second round, secures decision
Middleweight Andrew Sanchez (11-4) managed to survive a terrible second round, en route to a unanimous decision win over UFC newcomer Marc-André Barriault (11-2). All three judges awarded Sanchez the first and third rounds — but he was nearly finished in the second.
Barriault, of Quebec, found his range midway through the middle frame and proceeded to light Sanchez up on the feet. He snapped his head back with multiple uppercuts in tight, and bloodied him with a left hook and right cross. Sanchez appeared badly hurt after the round, but recovered well before the third.
He turned to his wrestling heavy in the final five minutes, and although he never really appeared to hurt Barriault with any offense, he slowed and controlled the rest of the bout.
“He hurt me, buzzed me, I really had to dig deep,” Sanchez admitted. “I had to take him down. It may not be exciting, nobody likes wrestling, but you can’t get away from me.”
For Sanchez, it is his second win in a row and fourth victory overall in the UFC.
Unbeaten prospect Chiasson earns TKO win
Macy Chiasson continued her unbeaten ways, defeating Sarah Moras by second-round TKO. Chiasson, who spent much of the first round on her back after Moras took her to the ground seconds into the fight, couldn’t afford more of the same. On another takedown attempt by Moras to open the second, Chiasson stuffed it and got into full mount. She rained down punches until the referee stepped in to call the bout early. Chiasson is now 5-0 as a professional, while Moras drops to 5-5.
Morales edges Zahabi on scorecards
Vince Morales defeated Aiemann Zahabi by unanimous decision as all three judges scored the contest 29-28. Zahabi, the brother of esteemed MMA trainer Firas Zahabi, never seemed to get in a true rhythm against Morales and was only successful on one of his five takedown attempts. Morales (10-3) landed more significant strikes (59-28) and actually won that stat in all three rounds. He has split his last four matchups. Zahabi has lost two in a row.
Taleb stops two-fight skid with unanimous decision victory against Prepolec
UFC lightweight Nordine Taleb cruised to a unanimous decision victory against Kyle Prepolec (30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards). He controlled the pace throughout all three rounds and landed a multitude of low kicks that kept Prepolec at bay. Taleb ended a two-fight skid with the win. Prepolec suffered his first loss since 2017.
Sayles chokes out Nelson in third round
Matt Sayles picked up his first UFC win, defeating Kyle Nelson by third-round submission. Sayles stuffed a takedown attempt, immediately went into full mount and then transitioned that into a head-and-arm choke that Nelson tapped officially at 3:16 of the third round. He overcame adversity for the win. Nelson took Sayles’ back in the second round and nearly got the rear-naked choke. Sayles somehow survived and one round later finished his opponent. Sayles has won three of four, while Nelson has dropped two in a row.
Bhullar hands Adams first UFC loss
Arjan Bhullar, despite being the shorter and lighter heavyweight, was able to score a big unanimous decision win against Juan Adams in Ottawa. The Canadian fighter — who trains out of American Kickboxing Academy with Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov and others in California — utilized his elite wrestling skills to take Adams down on multiple occasions for ground-and-pound. His jab was also effective throughout the three rounds. Bhullar improved to 9-1, while Adams suffered his first loss in five professional fights.
Smith earns first UFC win in decision against Gagnon
Cole Smith picked up his first UFC win on Saturday, defeating Mitch Gagnon by unanimous decision to remain undefeated as a professional (7-0). Smith used his clear size advantage to stay out of harm’s way throughout, and when he did take Gagnon down, he nearly submitted him on multiple occasions. Smith took Gagnon’s back midway through the second round and almost got a neck crank, but his opponent was able to get out at the last minute. Smith was caught with a hard left hook in the third round and dropped, however he was able to recover and ended the fight on top. Gagnon is now 12-5.
Still to come:
Brad Katona vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Shane Burgos vs. Cub Swanson
Derek Brunson vs. Elias Theodorou
Al Iaquinta vs. Donald Cerrone
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