7:09 PM ET
Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim
Two of the most explosive knockout artists in the UFC light heavyweight division will go to battle this weekend.
Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker meet Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas — and it would be shocking if the bout between the two natives of Brazil goes to decision. This main event has major meaning in the 205-pound division.
ESPN has Santos ranked No. 10 in the world at light heavyweight and Walker is trying to ascend the ladder. Both men were born in Rio de Janeiro, but train elsewhere — Santos out of Florida’s American Top Team and Walker at SBG Ireland, the home gym of Conor McGregor.
Santos (21-9) is tied for the second most KO/TKOs in UFC history with 11. “Marreta” has dropped three straight following four straight wins, but one of those losses came against then-champion Jon Jones in a 2019 UFC light heavyweight title fight in which Santos blew out both of his knees. Santos, 37, is still looking for his first victory since surgery. He is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259 in March.
Walker (18-5) is coming off a huge first-round knockout over Ryan Spann in September 2020. He has had only two decisions in his pro career, but has won all four of his UFC bouts via finish. Walker, 29, was considered a bright prospect before back-to-back losses to Corey Anderson and Nikita Krylov in 2019 and 2020.
In the co-main event, Kevin Holland will meet Kyle Daukaus in a matchup of up-and-coming middleweights. Holland (21-7), a 28-year-old Texas resident, is trying to bounce back from two straight losses, which followed a fantastic five-fight winning streak in 2020. Daukaus (10-2), a 28-year-old from Philadelphia, has dropped two of three in the UFC after holding the Cage Fury FC middleweight title.
Follow the action live with recaps and analysis Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim or watch the fights on ESPN+.
Fight in progress:
Alexander Hernandez knocks out Mike Breeden with vicious right hand in Las Vegas.
It was exactly the kind of performance Hernandez needed to get back on track.
Hernandez caught Breeden against the cage and strung together several hard combinations, leading to the finish via knockout at 1:20 of the first round. Hernandez put Breeden on his heels quickly, then blasted the mouthpiece out of Breeden’s mouth as Breeden tried to evade.
Referee Mark Smith had no choice but to step in and stop the onslaught after Hernandez dropped Breeden with a right hand to the jaw. The sequence started with a Hernandez short elbow. It was all one-way traffic from there.
Hernandez, 29, has won two of his last three, but is 3-3 in his last six bouts. Afterward, the Texas resident called out Leonardo Santos, who had to withdraw from this bout due to injury before Breeden stepped in as a replacement. Breeden, a 32-year-old fighting out of Missouri, was making his UFC debut and had a two-fight winning streak snapped.
Solecki came in riding a six-fight winning streak. Early on, it looked like he was on his way to extending that streak. But Gordon persevered through a difficult first round, in which he was taken down four times, and took control to earn his third win in a row.
All three judges scored the bout 29-28, with two of them favoring Gordon, a 33-year-old New Yorker who had an especially strong second round and carried a close Round 3 by being the busier striker and briefly taking the fight to the canvas.
Solecki, 28, who is from New Jersey and fights out of Wilmington, North Carolina, suffered his first UFC defeat.
Casey O’Neill keeps her unbeaten streak alive with a stoppage victory over Antonina Shevchenko in Las Vegas.
Valentina Shevchenko is in need of some fresh challengers for her UFC women’s flyweight title. She might have just gotten a glimpse of one from across the cage.
The undefeated O’Neill used ground and pound to finish Antonina Shevchenko via TKO at 4:47 of the second round. Valentina was in the corner of her older sister for the bout. O’Neill took Antonina down, got into mount and then landed big punches, elbows and hammerfists from there until referee Chris Tognoni saw enough.
Took the under!!! @kingcaseymma 👏🏼
— Kai Kamaka III (@kaiboikamaka) October 2, 2021
“I’m here, I’m here to fight hard and I’ll finish everybody,” O’Neill said in her postfight interview.
O’Neill, a 23-year-old prospect, is 3-0 in the UFC with three finishes. The Scotland-born fighter, who trains out of Las Vegas, has four finishes in seven career wins. O’Neill is now tied for the longest active winning streak in the UFC women’s flyweight division, behind Valentina Shevchenko (8). Antonina Shevchenko, a 36-year-old Kyrgyzstan native fighting out of Las Vegas, has dropped two straight and four of her last six.
Rosa did not give Correia the happiest of Octagon goodbyes.
In Correia’s final UFC fight, her Brazilian countrywoman ended up being the victor via unanimous decision, as judges scored the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 in a dominant performance. Correia was emotional walking to the cage, tears welling up in her eyes. Afterward, she sported a bruised left eye courtesy of Rosa’s punches, elbows and knees.
Rosa, 26, has won six straight, including her first four UFC fights. Rosa’s four-fight winning streak is the second longest active winning streak in the UFC women’s bantamweight division, behind only champion Amanda Nunes (9).
“Very emotional moment for me,” Correia said in her postfight interview.
Despite being beaten to the punch again and again by his quicker opponent in the first round, Mullarkey kept moving forward and bringing his power. It paid off in Round 2, when he overwhelmed Smith with volume and got the finish at 2:51.
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) October 2, 2021
Mullarkey, a 27-year old Australian, has won two fights in a row, both finishes.
Smith, who is 28 and from Ohio, has lost two of his last three.
Douglas Silva de Andrade catches Gaetano Pirrello with a left hand to end the fight in the first round.
Silva de Andrade got his first finish since 2016, and what a finish it was. The 36-year-old Brazilian countered a kick with a sharp left hook that sent Pirrello crashing to the mat for a knockout 2:04 into the fight.
Silva de Andrade has won two of his last three, while Pirrello, who is 29 and from Belgium, has lost both of his UFC bouts.
Egger used takedowns in both rounds to control the fight, delivering a ground-and-pound beatdown in Round 2 to get the stoppage for her first UFC victory.
The 33-year-old from Switzerland, who had dropped her Octagon debut a year ago, had to fend off a submission attempt from Young in the first round. But in the second, Egger’s offense was too much for Young, and shortly after Egger dropped a big elbow to Young’s face, referee Mark Smith jumped in at 2:22 to end it.
Young, who is 30 and fights out of Knoxville, Tennessee, has lost both of her UFC bouts.
Perez had not fought since July 2019, so he took a while to get going. But after being taken down early in Round 2 and having to battle his way back to his feet, he turned things around quickly. Perez took Eduardo to the canvas and locked in a straight armbar to get the finish at 4:13.
The 32-year-old Perez, who is from Mexico and fights out of San Jose, California, ended a two-fight losing streak.
Eduardo, a 43-year-old Brazilian who had not competed since June 2018, lost his third in a row.
Wow an armbar finish with the legs in the crucifix position. Very impressive. 🙏🏽 #UFCVegas38
— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) October 2, 2021
Still to come:
Light heavyweight: Thiago Santos (21-9, 13-8 UFC; -155) vs. Johnny Walker (18-5, 4-2 UFC; +130)
Middleweight: Kevin Holland (21-7, 8-4 UFC; -165) vs. Kyle Daukaus (10-2, 1-2 UFC; +140)
Welterweight: Alex Oliveira (22-10-1, 1 NC; 11-8, 1 NC UFC; +160) vs. Niko Price (14-5, 2 NC; 6-5, 2 NC UFC; -190)