The UFC DC main card is underway and the promotion’s #9 ranked strawweight, Marina Rodriguez, and the #10 ranked Cynthia Calvillo went the distance in a competitive affair, resulting in a majority draw. Rodriguez had a strong first-two rounds, but Calvillo came on strong in the final act, landing all sorts of ground strikes.
Before that, Ben Rothwell scored a controversial TKO of Stefan Struve in the seocnd round. Struve suffered a punishing cup kick in the first round, and then again in the second. The referee encouraged Struve continue, and he did, but Rothwell went into desperation mode. Rothwell was able to hurt Struve with big punches and get the finish with three seconds left in the round. The win snaps a three-fight losing skid for Rothwell.
The company’s #5 ranked women’s bantamweight, Aspen Ladd, handled business in the third round against the #7 ranked, Yana Kunitskaya. Ladd landed a heavy left hand that sat down her opponent, and then pounced with some savage ground and pound to secure the stoppage. What a way to bounce back after her 16-second loss to Germaine de Randamie in her last outing!
The UFC’s #9 ranked bantamweight, Cody Stamann, and the #13 ranked, Song Yadong, fought to a majority draw. It seemed as if Stamann had done enough to get the win, considering Yadong losing a point due to an illegal foul, but the judges have spoken. Opening up the main card, the promotion’s #10 ranked bantamweight weight, Rob Font, and Ricky Simon battled it out for 15-minutes. Each man had moments in this war, but it was Font who walked away with the decision victory.
Marina Rodriguez def. Cynthia Calvillo by unanimous decision (29-28, 28-28 x2): Strawweight
Calvillo stayed on the outside to start the bout as Rodriguez took the center of the cage. Rodriguez was landing the strikes, until Calvillo shot in and got the takedown. Rodriguez stood up and started blasting her opponent. She landed some brutal knees to the face and had Calvillo backpedalling. Calvillo managed to score a takedown in the final minute of the round but was unable to steal back the round.
Rodriguez took the center of the cage again in the second act. The volume was again on the side of Rodriguez, with Calvillo not doing much from the outside. Rodriguez started attacking the body, causing Calvillo to stay in retreat-mode.
Calvillo was able to get a takedown early in the final round. She landed some quality elbows as she controlled from the top. Rodriguez gave up her back and ate a bunch of strikes as she tried to free herself. Rodriguez managed to stand to her feet and return to open space, but she took a lot of punishment on the ground.
Ben Rothwell def. Stefan Struve by TKO at 4:57 of round 2: Heavyweight
Struve came out attacking the legs of Rothwell. The fight went to the fence, with Struve’s back to the cage. Upon the break, Struve landed a head kick that wobbled his opponent, but Rothwell kicked him right in the cup. Struve dropped in agony, prompting the ref to bring in the doctor. The fight resumed after the five minutes. Struve went back to his kicking attack, both to the legs and the head.
Rothwell closed the distance in the second act as Struve tried to keep him away with his long weapons. Whenever Rothwell would put his foe against the fence, Struve would find a way to break free. The leg kicks continued to be there for Struve against the advancing Rothwell. Then, Rothwell kicked Struve in the cup once again, causing Struve to flop to the ground in pain. The doctor came back in and the ref took a point from Rothwell. The fight resumed and Rothwell got aggressive, landing big punches. Rothwell finally checked a kick, which hurt Struve. He then started bombing away, causing Struve to shell up against the cage. The referee stopped the fight.
Aspen Ladd def. Yana Kunitskaya by TKO at :33 of round 3: (W) Bantamweight
Ladd instantly closed the distance to start the match, but ended up with her back to the fence. Kunitskaya grabbed the fence a few times, which prompted the ref to break them apart. The bout went right back to the fence. Ladd was able to hit a trip and get the fight to the floor. She controlled from the top before taking the back. There, she unloaded a ton of strikes. Kunitskaya was able to reverse into top position just before the bell.
The fighters stood and traded to start the second act. Ladd was anding her hands while Kunitskaya looked to step in with her elbow. Kunitskaya was able to shove Ladd against the cage. There, she landed some busy knees to the body. Back in open space, Ladd hit a takedown in the middle of the Octagon, and kept it for the remainder of the round. Ladd dropped Kunitskaya right out of the gate with a left hand to open the third round. She quickly took the back and started to rain down elbows. All Kunitskaya could do was cover up until the referee called this one off.
Cody Stamann vs. Song Yadong fought to a majority draw (29-27, 28-28 x2): Bantamweight
A bit of feeling out went on to open this bout. Stamann was able to change levels and secure a takedown. Yadong locked up a squatting guillotine, but threw an illegal knee to the face. The foul resulted in a point deduction. Not much happened upon the restart, but Stamann did achieve a takedown before the bell.
The second round saw Yadong start aggressively. Stamann worked for his takedown, and when he got it, Yadong was able to scramble back to his feet without sustaining damage. Stamann stuck to the gameplan and was able to finally lockdown the top position, at least for a bit. Yadong was able to reverse with 30 seconds on the clock. He landed one solid elbow, but that was about it.
Stamann scored a takedown to kick off the final round. He did a much better job of staying on top this time. He wouldn’t allow Yadong to scramble out and was able to do enough to avoid a referee standup. Down the stretch, Stamann began to unload his strikes to finish up the round with authority.
Rob Font def. Ricky Simon by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Bantamweight
Font brought the pressure right away, landing flush strikes. Then, Simon rocked Font with a left hand before getting the takedown. Font stood up but ate a few knees along the way, and then Simon took him right back down. Back on the feet, Font settled in and started landing off of his jab. Simon scored another short-lived takedown before the end of the round. Font was landing his hands early in the second act. Simon showed off a strong chin as he was eating some clean punches. Whenever Simon did get the takedown, Font would quickly return to his feet.
The jab was pumping for Font to open the final frame. Simon started to score with his hands, mixing up his jab and hooks. Font gave up a takedown around the midpoint of the round, but again was able to get back up. Font returned to his jab and started landing and pushing his opponent backwards.