UFC Fight Night: Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba | Winner Interviews … – UFC

When the Derrick Lewis vs Serghei Spivac main event at the UFC APEX got pulled on fight day due to a Lewis illness, light heavyweights Kennedy Nzechukwu and Ion Cutelaba stepped up, and it was Nzechukwu scoring an impressive second-round finish of “The Hulk.” In the co-main event, heavyweight up and comer Waldo Cortes Acosta remained unbeaten as he won a three-round unanimous decision over Chase Sherman.
Upgraded to the main event slot on fight day, Kennedy Nzechukwu took advantage in aa big way, as he halted Ion Cutelaba in the second round of their light heavyweight bout.
Cutelaba got off to a strong start as he jarred Nzechukwu and then tied him up against the fence. Ninety seconds in, Cutelaba took his foe down and landed in the mount position. Nzechukwu got to his feet with a little over two minutes remaining, but Cutelaba remained locked on until he scored another takedown. Nzechukwu fought his way free and looked for his own takedown as they both rose, but he wasn’t able to get it.
A knee by Nzechukwu rocked Cutelaba, and even when the Moldovan responded with a low kick, the Nigeria native wasn’t interested in a break. Instead, he kept the heat on his opponent, hurt him again, and after a series of unanswered blows, referee Keith Peterson stopped the fight. The official time was 1:02 of round two.
Nzechukwu moves to 11-3 with the win. Cutelaba falls to 16-9-1, 1 NC | Official Scorecards
Heavyweight prospect Waldo Cortes Acosta remained unbeaten, decisioning Chase Sherman over three rounds.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Cortes Acosta, now 9-0. Sherman falls to 16-11.
Sherman had a good first round, digging kicks into his opponent’s legs and ending the round with a takedown. In between, Cortes Acosta began to find his rhythm, and he landed several solid blows on “The Vanilla Gorilla.”
Cortes Acosta wasted no time getting to work in the second, and he tagged Sherman with a series of hard shots. Sherman tried to shake everything off, but he couldn’t get out of the way of his foe’s punches. In the final minute, it looked like the fight was going to be stopped, but Sherman made it to the horn, and the gutsy Mississippi native survived the final five minutes as well, but this was Cortes Acosta’s night. | Official Scorecards
Welterweight striker Muslim Salikhov rebounded from a rough first round against Andre Fialho to roar back and stop his foe in the third.
After some solid striking from both fighters to kick off the bout, Salikhov scored the first takedown of the bout midway through round one. When the two rose, a flush spinning back kick to the body looked like it was going to hurt Fialho, but he was unmoved, and he fired back with a punch upstairs that began shutting Salikhov’s left eye.
A spinning backfist by Salikhov stung Fialho in the second, and he kept the offense coming, with a spinning hook kick next. A right hand then jarred Fialho and the fight went to the mat, with Salikhov trying to end the bout with ground strikes, but the Portugal native weathered the storm and made it out of the round.
Salikhov wasn’t going to let it go to the judges, though, and after another spinning kick to the head early in the final round, referee Chris Tognoni had seen enough, and he halted the fight at the 1:03 mark.
Salikhov moves to 19-3 with the win. Fialho falls to 16-6, 1 NC. | Official Scorecards
Australian welterweight prospect Jack Della Maddalena continued to impress, as he stopped Danny Roberts in the first round to extend his winning streak to 13.
Della Maddalena didn’t give Roberts a chance to breathe, feeding the veteran a steady diet of shots at long and close range. In the second minute, the Aussie scored a knockdown, but Roberts continued to hang tough. Roberts’ resilience didn’t deter Della Maddalena’s forward march, though, and after setting up his foe with body shots, he went upstairs, dropping and finishing the Brit. The time of referee Mark Smith’s stoppage was 3:24 of the first round.
Della Maddalena moves to 13-2 with the win. Roberts falls to 18-7. | Official Scorecards
In a wild three-round flyweight bout, Charles Johnson scored his first UFC win with a split decision over Zhalgas Zhumagulov.
Scores were 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 for Johnson, now 12-3. Zhumagulov falls to 14-8.
Filled with a series of stoppages due to fouls, the bout appeared to be controlled by Zhumagulov due to a busy striking attack focusing on Johnson’s legs and body, but after another stoppage in the third due to a Johnson low blow, Zhumagulov was fatigued, and it gave Johnson a chance to surge down the stretch with the exception of a few moments when the St. Louis product bizarrely tried to stomp out the effects of a leg kick. | Official Scorecards
In a clash of flyweight contenders, Jennifer Maia took a three-round unanimous decision over Maryna Moroz.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for the No.8-ranked Maia, now 20-9-1. The No.15-ranked Moroz falls to 11-4.
Moroz was busy with her strikes in the first round, but it was Maia countering perfectly with her right hand. Add in the Brazilian’s control in the clinch, and it was a clear frame for the veteran contender.
Adding urgency to her attack in the second, Moroz had more success, but Maia still couldn’t miss with the right hand, and her power was holding the edge over the activity level of the Ukrainian.
In the second minute of round three, Moroz briefly staggered Maia with a punch upstairs, but Maia wasn’t in danger for long, and the two proceeded to take turns trading shots until the final horn of an entertaining scrap. | Official Scorecards
In a bantamweight bout, Miles Johns defeated Vince Morales via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Johns, now 13-2. Morales falls to 11-7.
The first round was largely uneventful, with neither fighter putting any significant offense together until a late standup exchange that saw each get their shots in.
There was more of the same in the second frame, but a takedown in the closing seconds by Johns may have gotten him the nod.
With the fight on the line in the third, both fighters upped their work rate for the final five minutes, each having their moments, but neither truly pulled away, leaving the result up to the judges. | Official Scorecards
In a frantically-paced bantamweight bout, Ricky Turcios outlasted Kevin Natividad via split decision.
Scores were 29-28, 29-28, and 28-29 for Turcios, now 13-3. Natividad falls to 9-4.
Turcios took the first round behind a swarming and active ground attack, and there was more the same in the second before Natividad got a takedown of his own in the second minute. Not surprisingly, Turcios scrambled his way out of trouble, but a left hook from the Hawaiian put him right back there briefly. Turcios cleared his head and fired off his own strikes before another Natividad takedown that ended up with Turcios in control.
Natividad went all in for a choke to start the third, and when they rose, it was a knee to the jaw that put more points on his scorecard. Turcios shook it all off and kept the pace high, and Natividad didn’t back down, but in the closing minute, Turcios got his opponent’s back and used his strikes to open up a rear naked choke. Natividad got free, but ate more ground strikes until the final horn sounded. | Official Scorecards
Vanessa Demopoulos made it three straight in her strawweight bout against Maria Oliveira, taking a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision.  
All three scores were 29-28 for Demopoulos, now 9-4. Oliveira falls to 13-6.
After some tactical standup to start the fight, Demopoulos took Oliveira down midway through the first round, and in the closing minute she got into mount and fired off some hard elbows and punches, putting a stamp on the round.
Demopoulos added to her lead in the second with a knockdown and more ground-and-pound, and while Oliveira had her moments early in the third, the “Lil’ Monster” scored another takedown and kept the Brazilian grounded until a little over a minute remained. In those closing moments, Oliveira emptied the tank, but Demopoulos made it to the final horn. | Official Scorecards
TUF 29 finalist Brady Hiestand returned to the Octagon and earned his first UFC victory, using his ground game to defeat Fernie Garcia via unanimous decision.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Hiestand, now 7-2. Garcia falls to 10-3.
A flush right hand jarred Hiestand seconds into the bout, and as the fight went to the mat, Garcia nearly secured a choke. Hiestand cleared his head and found daylight, moving into side control. Garcia scrambled and worked his way free, and the two traded positions of control on the mat and feet. Eventually, Hiestand made his way to Garcia’s back and looked for a choke, but Garcia defended well and got to his feet, where the two remained until the horn.
Hiestand drilled Garcia with a pair of kicks to the head early in round two and followed up with a takedown midway through the frame. Garcia was upright with a little over a minute to go, and he went on the attack with his standup game briefly before more grappling exchanges.
Getting the fight to the mat at the start of the final round, Hiestand took Garcia’s back and kept the position for the rest of the round, securing his first UFC victory in the process. | Official Scorecards
Brazil’s Natalia Silva extended her winning streak to eight in the flyweight opener, as she halted Octagon newcomer Tereza Bleda in the third round.
Bleda locked up with Silva in the opening minute, but the Brazilian defended the takedown well and got one of her own in the second minute, only to see Bleda take the top position. Silva reversed with 90 seconds to go but got caught in a triangle choke that she ultimately survived, making it to the end of the round.
Silva landed a hard right hand early in round two, but Bleda took it well and went back to the clinch briefly. Once separated, Silva landed another right, Bleda again shaking it off before initiating another grappling exchange. Silva wasn’t going to the mat, though, and she fired off shots on her tiring foe.
In the third, Silva put the heat on, and after a spinning back kick to the jaw dropped Bleda, a follow-up barrage of strikes brought in referee Chris Tognoni to halt matters at 1:27 of the final round.
With the win, Silva moves to 14-5-1. Bleda falls to 6-1. | Official Scorecards
Due to illness, Derrick Lewis has been removed from his heavyweight bout with Serghei Spivac. As a result, this bout was removed from today’s card.
UFC Fight Night: Nzechukwu vs Cutelaba took place live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 19, 2022. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses – and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass
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