HOUSTON -- Another UFC lightweight is moving up the ladder at 155 pounds, at Tony Ferguson's expense.
Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) earned the biggest win of his career on Saturday as he out-pointed Ferguson in a three-round bout at UFC 262. All three judges scored the non-title bout, which co-headlined the pay-per-view event inside the Toyota Center, 30-27 for Dariush.
It marks the third consecutive loss for Ferguson, 37, who went into 2020 with a 12-fight win streak and an undisputed lightweight title shot. Unfortunately for Ferguson, his title fight against then-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he has since suffered losses to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira and Dariush.
Gaethje and Oliveira both went on to fight for the UFC championship after defeating Ferguson. Dariush, 32, expects another big fight.
"This was my 20th fight in the UFC, and I am finally in the conversation," Dariush said. "I'd like to see myself in a title eliminator, whatever that is."
Just like his previous two losses, Ferguson was never really in a position to win on Saturday. He surrendered takedowns relatively early in each of the three rounds, and had no success working back to his feet. The most impressive part of Ferguson's performance came in the second round, when he somehow refused to tap to a deep heel hook attempt by Dariush.
"It popped," Dariush said of Ferguson's knee. "Tony just looked at me like nothing happened. I did it again, it popped again. I heard it. He's a zombie. There's no doubt about it."
Dariush, who trains out of Kings in MMA in Southern California, extended his win streak to seven. His 15 career wins ranks fourth all time in the division's history.
-- Brett Okamoto
HOUSTON -- It took more than 10 years, a failed drop in weight class and more than his fair share of ups and downs. But Charles Oliveira is finally a UFC champion.
Oliveira finished Michael Chandler via TKO at 19 seconds of the second round Saturday night in the main event of UFC 262 at Toyota Center. With the victory, Oliveira captured the vacant UFC lightweight title.
"I told you I was going to knock him out and I came and knocked him out," Oliveira said in his postfight interview through a translator. "I proved to everybody I'm the lion of lions."
Oliveira earned a $75,000 performance-of-the-night bonus.
-- Marc Raimondi
You could tell that the fans were eager to cheer for the Houston guy. But Schnell, the local favorite, was unable to produce much consequential offense, and the building was filled with boos in both the second and third rounds of a slow fight. It wasn't until halfway through Round 3 that the action picked up, when Bontorin got a takedown and was trying to ground-and-pound his way to victory.
In the end, it was Bontorin who secured the victory (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), using his power and aggressiveness to break out of a two-fight losing streak. The 29-year-old Brazilian, who took the fight on short notice, had missed weight on Friday, costing him a portion of his purse.
Schnell, 31, was the more technically sound striker, but he was not busy enough and absorbed the few shots that got a rise out of the crowd. He has lost two of his past three after running off a four-fight winning streak.
-- Jeff Wagenheim
Chookagian held serve as one of the top women's flyweight fighters in the world.
With the kind of steady performance she is known for, Chookagian picked up a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) victory over Araujo. The always-busy, volume striker took over in the final round and cemented the victory with hard jabs and combinations.
30-27 🤔— Jamahal "Sweet Dreams" Hill (@JamahalH) May 16, 2021
Araujo started hot. She got through Chookagian's range and landed some hard combinations in the first round. As the round wore on, though, Chookagian started to get into a rhythm on the feet and pop that effective jab. Araujo was able to take down Chookagian after catching a kick in the second round and from there she worked on a guillotine choke from the top, even getting into mount at one point. But Chookagian worked her way back to her feet and started landing against the visibly tiring Araujo.
"The takedown pissed me off and I think that actually helped me," Chookagian said in her postfight interview.
In the third, Chookagian was the clear winner. Her jab did not miss and she mixed in combinations, finishing with kicks to the body and legs. She said she was not concerned about the judges' decision when the result was being read.
"Every time I threw the jab, I didn't even have to look and it was landing," Chookagian said.
Chookagian, 32, is ESPN's No. 3-ranked women's flyweight fighter in the world. The New York resident has won two straight and five of her past seven. One of the losses during that stretch was a title fight loss to champion Valentina Shevchenko. Araujo, a 34-year-old Brazilian fighter, had a two-fight winning streak snapped.
Barboza overwhelms Burgos with flurry in first two rounds
Edson Barboza shows his dominance in the Octagon with an impressive performance vs. Shane Burgos at UFC 262.
Barboza, 35, of Rio de Janeiro, rocked Burgos with a right hand 1:16 into the final round. Burgos initially took the shot clean, but then staggered backward and crashed against the fence. Barboza went in for the finish but the fight was clearly over at that point. Burgos never went unconscious but was completely defenseless.
The finish came after two highly entertaining, competitive rounds. According to UFC Stats, Barboza landed 93 total strikes to 73 for Burgos, but Burgos was nevertheless right in the fight. He ate plenty of leg kicks, but did well getting out of the way of many others as well. Barboza's right leg actually suffered an injury in the second round, and was tended to between rounds.
Wow that was a delayed ko 🤯🤯🤯🤯— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) May 16, 2021
Burgos, 30, of Bronx, New York, landed some good work to the body, and worked well behind his jab. Barboza turned the tide on multiple occasions, however, with spinning attacks. He staggered Burgos for a second in the opening round with a spinning heel kick, and then a left hook moments later.
It is the 13th knockout of Barboza's career, and he improves to 2-1 as a featherweight. Burgos falls to 6-3 in the UFC.
Both fighters earned an extra $75,000 for fight-of-the-night bonuses.
During fight week, Muniz had proclaimed that he is a better grappler than Souza. This seemed preposterous, as Jacare is a 10-time world champion in jiu-jitsu. But then Muniz went out and submitted Souza in the very first round, possibly breaking his arm in the process.
Muniz, a 31-year-old from Brazil, considers Souza to be an idol, but he clearly didn't fear his legendary countryman. He got taken down early but quickly worked his way back to his feet, then took down Souza -- twice. The second time came after Muniz had secured back control while standing and tried to clamp on a choke. Instead, as the fighters went to the canvas, he got an armbar and there was an audible snap before the referee jumped in at 3:59.
"I'm a huge fan of Jacare," Muniz said. "I've followed his career for a long time, so it hasn't really hit me yet that I beat him. It's unbelievable what I did today. I didn't want to break his arm, but unfortunately that was the situation. I knew he wouldn't tap."
Oh man. I can't watch this. Feel terrible for Jacare— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) May 16, 2021
For Muniz, it was his seventh straight win and 15th in his past 16 bouts. He has three UFC wins and has lost only once since 2013.
It was the first submission loss for Souza. He is a former Strikeforce middleweight champion and a legend of the game, having defeated several UFC champs. But now the 41-year-old Brazilian has lost four in a row.
The story of this fight coming in was going to be Grundy's wrestling versus Vannata's striking. And, in the end, it was Vannata's striking -- with some wrestling of his own -- that won out.
Vannata pulled out a split decision win (29-28, 27-30, 30-27) over Grundy in a very entertaining, back-and-forth fight. A Vannata slam, perhaps the biggest surprise technique of the fight, helped seal the victory in the third round. This was Vannata's debut at featherweight.
Grundy is a very good wrestler and it was clear that his game plan was to take Vannata down and keep him there. But it never worked out for him. Vannata was slick evading the takedowns and made Grundy pay with kicks and knees as he was coming in. Vannata's striking was flowing, as he landed combination and flashy spinning techniques.
In the second round, Grundy landed two hard straight rights that did damage. But Vannata was landing combinations -- not just single strikes -- and he opened a cut on Grundy's head. Vannata landed a massive slam in what ended up being a one-sided third round for him, sealing the victory. However, one judge did not think so, giving all three rounds to Grundy.
"Those scorecards had me second-guessing my life," Vannata said in his postfight interview.
Vannata, 29, has alternated wins and losses in his past five fights. The New Mexico resident is known for his exciting fights, but lacked consistency at lightweight -- which he hopes to change at 145 pounds. Grundy, a 34-year-old Liverpool, England, native, has dropped two straight following a nine-fight winning streak.
Wright uses explosive KO to keep finishing rate perfect
Jordan Wright chases Jamie Pickett down, then puts him away with hammerfists.
Coming off his first pro loss, Wright did not take much time to get back into the win column -- 64 seconds to be exact.
Wright, 29, of Los Angeles, hurt Pickett with a string of elbows to the side of the head, as Pickett looked for an early single-leg attempt. After Pickett finally bailed on the takedown, Wright went for blood, as he swarmed Pickett with knees from the clinch. One of the knees knocked down Pickett in the center of the Octagon and Wright finished it from there with hammerfists.
75k got y'all out here acting differenttttttt ! #UFC262— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) May 16, 2021
It was a major bounceback for Wright, who suffered a knockout loss to Joaquin Buckley in November. He is now 2-1 with the promotion. Pickett, 32, of Wilmington, North Carolina, falls to 0-2 in the UFC.
When Lee got a takedown in the opening seconds of Round 2 and immediately secured a mounted triangle, it appeared that the fight was about to be over. But Shevchenko persevered in that position for nearly five minutes before Lee switched to a triangle armbar to finally, finally elicit the tapout at 4:52.
It was a much-needed victory for Lee, a 32-year-old Texas native now based just over the border in Shreveport, Louisiana. She ended a three-fight losing streak, utilizing a striking advantage of 88-36, mostly coming on the ground.
Shevchenko looked sharp on her feet for much of the first round, but once the fight went to the canvas she had no answers, though she did survive. The 36-year-old older sister of UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko has lost two of her past three.
Cachoeira batters Mazany on way to win in Round 2
Priscila Cachoeira overwhelms Gina Mazany with punches at the end of Round 2 for the dominating victory at UFC 262.
Two fights ago, it appeared as if Cachoeira was on the verge of getting her walking papers. Now? She's on a bit of a run.
Cachoeira stopped Mazany via TKO at 4:51 of the second round. Living up to her "Zombie Girl" nickname, Cachoeira rallied after getting taken down repeatedly, walked forward and blasted Mazany over and over again with big right hands.
What a comeback— Chito Vera (@chitoveraUFC) May 15, 2021
Mazany looked good early on. She used her wrestling to put down Cachoeira several times in the first round and landed some ground-and-pound. It looked like the second round would be more of the same. Mazany took down Cachoeira and worked from half guard with ground-and-pound.
But Cachoeira caught Mazany with an elbow from the bottom that opened a nasty cut near Mazany's left eye. That might have been the beginning of the end. Referee Mike Beltran stood the two women up and Cachoeira began to stalk forward. Mazany was clearly tired and Cachoeira continued to pressure, landing right hand after right hand after right hand. Mazany was spent and hurt and Beltran had to step in to call for the TKO.
Cachoeira, 32, has won two straight by finish after losing her first three fights in the UFC. The Brazil native was destroyed by current women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko in her first UFC bout in 2018, but picked up the quickest knockout in division history over Shana Dobson in February 2020. Mazany, a 32-year-old Alaska native fighting out of Missouri, has alternated wins and losses in her past five fights.
A former Dana White Contender Series contestant fighting out of Maryland, Lutz landed more meaningful shots on the feet and mixed in key takedowns to earn the win. According to UFC Stats, he did not significantly outland Aguilar in the high-pace fight, but he clearly caused more damage and spent time in top position in every round.
Tucker Lutz had a great debut! 👏🏽 #ufc262— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) May 15, 2021
Aguilar, of Winnsboro, Texas, badly needed a victory as he went into the contest on a three-fight skid. That sense of urgency showed in the final round, as he continued to move forward and look for big shots, but the 32-year-old couldn't do enough to avoid his fourth consecutive loss.
Lutz, 26, suffered a loss in his very first professional bout in 2015, but is unbeaten since.
Giagos chokes out Soriano to start off UFC 262
Christos Giagos gets the Houston crowd on their feet as he submits Sean Soriano in the first fight of UFC 262.
Giagos was pieced up in the first round in the standup and nailed by more punches and kicks early in the second, but when he went to his wrestling he found immediate success -- using a takedown to lock in a D'Arce choke that gave him the win.
For Soriano, who returned to the Octagon six years after his first run in the UFC, the result was much like his last time in the cage: He showed flashes of brilliance, but in the end did not come out on top. Soriano was cut from the promotion in 2015 after three straight losses.
Damn that was a sick darce choke. #UFC262— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) May 15, 2021
Giagos, a 31-year-old from Hawthorne, California, got the finish at 3:59 of Round 2 for his second win in a row. He earned a $75,000 performance-of-the-night bonus. Afterward, he stated he wanted to be the opponent in what is expected to be Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone's retirement fight.
Soriano, also 31, is a Rhode Islander fighting out of Boca Raton, Florida. He had won three in a row.