Another weekend brings along yet another UFC event as we’re in Las Vegas for this one, inside the UFC Apex as the UFC present UFC Vegas 6. Headlining the card is a heavyweight battle between Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik, whilst the co-main sees #11 ranked middleweight contender Omari Akhmedov take on UFC legend Chris Weidman.
Irwin Rivera (W) vs Ali Alqaisi – Bantamweight Bout
Kicking the entire card and the prelims off is a bantamweight bout between Irwin Rivera and Ali Alqaisi. The first round started and Alqaisi was the first to make a major move, body locking Rivera against the cage wall, Rivera managed to counter out of that and trip his opponent to the floor, where he controlled from the side until giving Alqaisi a chance to get back to his feet. Alqaisi then started to look for an opening with some high head kicks, which allowed him to get a slam and control Rivera on the ground, looking for a guillotine choke. Alqaisi managed to score a late takedown again to end the round in dominant position, 10-9 Alqaisi for me.
The second round was a lot more action-packed as both guys seemed to loosen up and throw hands, with Alqaisi going back to his kicks and Rivera looking to have some success with a really stiff jab. Both guys were countering each other and it was a closely fought round, Alqaisi went for a takedown and got stuffed, Rivera went for his own and ate a knee and a left hook. Alqaisi was looking for some seriously powerful overhead rights but wasn’t connecting perfectly with them. Tough to call, so I’ll say 19-19.
Round 3 was a fantastic end to the fight, Rivera opened the round up brilliantly, finding some success with his left jab and then hit a huge left which opened up a quick takedown for Rivera. Alqaisi got back to his feet quickly and came back at Rivera with some huge rights of his own. The fight was paused for a minute or two after Rivera caught Alqaisi with a low knee, and Rivera caught Alqaisi with a huge knee to the head as Alqaisi came in for a takedown. Both guys started to tee off at the end of the round but for me Rivera won that round and the fight 29-28. The judges gave the fight to Rivera via split decision.
Youssef Zalal (W) vs Peter Barrett – Featherweight Bout
We move to the featherweight division for this next bout as Youssef Zalal looks to continue his 2020 run as he welcomes Peter Barrett to the UFC octagon. Youssef Zalal started the fight exceptionally well, almost finishing the fight within a minute after he hit a picture-perfect spinning kick to Barrett’s jaw that sent him crashing to the mat. Fair play to Barrett who took the shot and survived, even coming back to enjoy a little flurry of shots himself. Zalal was just teeing off on Barrett for the rest of the round with an extreme variety of shots. Easy 10-9 Zalal.
Round 2 was all Zalal once again, opening up the round with some fantastic striking, finding success with a lot of different strikes. Zalal managed to get a body lock on Barrett, taking him to the floor and eventually taking his back. For the final 3 minutes of the round Zalal was working for the rear-naked choke but could never truly sink it deep, but it was another easy round for Zalal. 20-17.
Round 3 started with Barrett looking to finish the fight quickly, knowing he was down on the scorecards. Unfortunately for Barrett, Zalal was reading everything he was throwing, expertly dodging every strike. Zalal came back, getting a couple of takedowns for himself and looking for the rear-naked choke again but it never happened and I have Zalal winning this 30-26. Two judges agreed with me as Zalal gets the decision win.
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Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via USA TODAY Sports