Welcome to our coverage of UFC 237 from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
There will be a UFC 237 POST Show late tonight on the site that I will be doing solo with a full review of this card and notes from the Bellator 221 event from Chicago.
Jon Anik is calling the event with Daniel Cormier and Dominick Cruz.
The lightweight fight between Francisco Trinaldo and Carlos Diego Ferreira was pulled on Friday due to Ferreira suffering from kidney stones. The Irene Aldana vs. Bethe Correira fight was moved up to the pay-per-view slot
*Viviane Araujo def. Talita Bernardo by KO at 0:48 of Round 3
*Raoni Barcelos def. Carlos Huachin by TKO at 4:49 of Round 2
*Luana Carolina def. Priscila Cachoeira by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
*Clay Guida def. BJ Penn by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
*Warlley Alves def. Sergio Moraes by KO at 4:13 of Round 3
*Thiago Moises def. Kurt Holobaugh by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
*Ryan Spann def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by KO at 2:07 of Round 1
*Irene Aldana def. Bethe Correia by armbar at 3:24 of Round 3
*Laureano Staropoli def. Thiago Alves by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Alexander Volkanovski def. Jose Aldo by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Jared Cannonier def. Anderson Silva by TKO at 4:47 of Round 1
*Jessica Andrade def. Rose Namajunas by KO at 2:58 of Round 2 to win the UFC strawweight title
TALITA BERNARDO (5-3, 134.5) VS VIVIANE ARAUJO (6-1, 131) – FLYWEIGHT
Araujo took this fight earlier in the week and was Bernardo’s third opponent this card after Jessica-Rose Clark and Melissa Gatto had to pull out. Araujo is a strawweight and only weighed 131 pounds for this fight.
Araujo was on point with her striking, changing stances to land a solid body kick in the first round. She had a lot of success with her right hand and reversed a takedown and moved to side control and gained control of Bernardo’s back. Araujo continued to display those skills in the second round and kicked off the final round with a right hand over the top that knocked out Bernardo. It was a beautiful knockout.
WINNER: Viviane Araujo by KO at 0:48 of Round 1
Despite the successful UFC debut, Araujo said she would be returning to strawweight, which is her natural weight class. This was her fourth consecutive win.
RAONI BARCELOS (13-1, 135.5) VS CARLOS HUACHIN (10-3-2, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Huachin took the first round with his strong counters and sliding out of danger whenever Barcelos entered the pocket. In the second round, Barcelos dropped him and pounced on top with strikes, although Huachin defended and tried to improve his position. Barcelos was relentless and moved to mount while attempting several submissions. In the closing second, he attacked with elbows and the referee stepped in. Dominick Cruz was upset with the stoppage and felt Huachin was moving and could have continued.
WINNER: Raoni Barcelos by TKO at 4:49 of Round 2
This was Barcelos’ third straight win in the UFC and is unbeaten since 2014 when he was fighting for RFA.
LUANA CAROLINA (5-1, 124.5) VS PRISCILA CACHOEIRA (8-2, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Cachoeira showed a lot of heart but took damage throughout the fight as Carolina easily took the decision win. They both threw enormous shots in the opening round setting the pace for a high-action fight. Carolina landed a head kick and dropped Cachoeira in the second round. Carolina landed an illegal knee as Cachoeira was getting up. Carolina dominated the round and I had it 10-8. Both appeared tired by the end of the third round as Cachoeira threw everything she had remaining in the tank to minimal success.
WINNER: Luana Carolina by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
BJ PENN (16-13-2, 155.5) VS CLAY GUIDA (34-18, 153.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Penn came out and looked noticeably sharper in the first round. His key strikes included a left hook and right uppercut while getting his jab out there to stop Guida’s pressure. Guida was utilizing leg kicks and appeared to be Penn’s round. Penn slowed as the fight wore on and Guida’s leg kicks added up. Penn was having trouble putting weight on his leg during the second round. In the third, Guida was relentless with pressure and working for the takedown off of the cage. I had Guida winning the fight 29-28.
WINNER: Clay Guida by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
WARLLEY ALVES (12-3, 170) VS SERGIO MORAES (14-4-1, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
Warlley Alves dominated this fight with his leg kicks as Sergio Moraes was struggling to stand by the end of it. The first round was competitive where the strikes were nearly identical but the quality of strikes from Alves’ leg kicks seemed to be the difference. It was a different story in the second round, Alves targeted the lead leg that was quickly swelling as Alves utilized his leg as a baseball bat. Alves started penetrating with his jab and would open up Moraes for more kick. It was a miracle Moraes was still going in the third round and withstood countless leg kicks. This was well on it’s way to being an easy 10-8 when Alves threw a flying knee and dropped Moraes with a right uppercut for the stoppage.
WINNER: Warlley Alves by KO at 4:13 of Round 3
Alves improved to 13-3 and bounced back from a TKO loss to James Krause in his last outing.
THIAGO MOISES (11-3, 155) VS KURT HOLOBAUGH (17-6, 154.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Moises fought a great fight against the veteran Holobaugh. Moises utilized elbow strikes both standing and when he found his way on top of Holobaugh. Moises sealed the first round ending it on top and controlling the pace. Moises completed a double leg takedown in the second round and pressured Holobaugh until the 32-year old made his way back up. Holobaugh threw a lot towards the end of the second round but it was Moises connecting with the cleaner strikers. In the third, Moises took it 10-8 as he got on top in half-guard, locked in a choke that didn’t finish the fight and ended the fight with heavy pressure on the top.
WINNER: Thiago Moises by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA (23-8, 203.5) VS RYAN SPANN (15-5, 204) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Spann immediately got Nogueira down and went for an arm triangle but couldn’t free his left leg to fully apply it. Nogueira escaped and got back to his feet. The two exchanged big strikes with Spann the victor as he dropped Nogueira with a vicious left uppercut and followed with two left hands while and Nogueira was done.
WINNER: Ryan Spann by KO at 2:07 of Round 1
It was Spann’s sixth win in a row and is 2-0 in the UFC since winning a spot on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
IRENE ALDANA (9-4, 135.5) VS BETHE CORREIA (10-3-1, 141*) – CATCHWEIGHT, 141 POUNDS
Correia hasn’t fought since June 2017 when she lost to Holly Holm.
It was a close fight until the submission in the third round. Aldana was utilizing combinations to get the better of the striking in the first round. Correia appeared to have a better read on Aldana in the second round and was connecting with right hands. Aldana ended the second round with a knee from the clinch and a big combination that may have taken the round. Correia’s corner thought she was ahead after two rounds. I think the most optimistic outlook would have it even. Correia landed big shots in the third round, but then shot for the takedown and Aldana scrambled and went for her back. She took Correia’s arm and got the tap from a belly-down armbar.
All three judges had it 20-18 going into Round 3.
WINNER: Irene Aldana by armbar at 3:24 of Round 3
This was Aldana’s third consecutive win after losing her first two fights in the UFC.
THIAGO ALVES (23-13, 170.5) VS LAUREANO STAROPOLI (8-1, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
This was a great fight. Staropoli is a dynamic fighter with unorthodox offense but as he gains experience he is only going to improve and is already a solid fighter. Staropoli focused on the head and body with his strike totals dwarfing Alves’, while Alves attacked the legs and controlled that department. Alves picked up the tempo in the final round and was a great round for the Pitbull. Alves got a takedown in the third round and landed a knee that was one of his best strikes of the fight. I had it 29-28 for Staropoli.
WINNER: Laureano Staropoli by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Staropoli improves to 9-1 after debuting in the UFC last November. He is a lot of fun to watch and is a welterweight on the rise.
JOSE ALDO (28-4, 146) VS ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI (19-1, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
The audience was electric at the start and slowly quieted down once they saw Volkanovski’s game plan to shut Aldo down. In the first round, it was Volkanvski’s inside leg kicks that were key to him setting the pace and forcing Aldo to hesitate. Volkanovski clinched throughout the second round and threw knees at Aldo while in the clinch against the cage. The shutdown method continued in the final round with Aldo finding himself against the cage without answers for the strategy of Volkanovski. This was demoralizing for the audience in Rio de Janeiro.
WINNER: Alexander Volkanovski by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Volkanvski is 7-0 in the UFC and defeating Aldo should put him in the championship picture but this also wasn’t the dynamic performance that is going to lead to an enormous demand a fight with Holloway. Volkanovski had a great game plan and Aldo could not adjust.
ANDERSON SILVA (34-9, 1 NC, 185) VS JARED CANNONIER (11-4, 184.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
The fight ended with Silva taking an inside leg kick and immediately fell down and favored his right knee. Silva attempted to defend off his back and referee Herb Dean waved off the fight due to Silva’s injury. Cannonier was seconds away from winning the opening round, which was highlighted by three straight right hands that landed on Silva.
WINNER: Jared Cannonier by TKO at 4:49 of Round 1
It was ruled a TKO win for Cannonier, who wins his second fight in a row since coming down to middleweight. The audience booed the outcome, which appeared to upset Cannonier.
ROSE NAMAJUNAS (8-3, 114.5) VS JESSICA ANDRADE (19-6, 114.5) – UFC STRAWWEIGHT TITLE
Namajunas looked fantastic in the first round as she was so much quicker and busted up the left eye of Andrade with her lightning-fast jabs. Andrade tried for a slam and Namajunas held onto the arm for a kimura and nearly applied to after she was sent down. It was a huge round for Namajunas.
In the second, Andrade was trying to slow her with leg kicks, but it was futile with Namajunas lighting her up. Then, in a redo from the first round, Andrade lifted her for a slam as Namajunas held onto the arm for the kimura and was slammed onto her head. The forced knocked out Namajunas, who absorbed two hammer fists before it was waved off. It was an enormous comeback for Andrade and is the new strawweight champion.
Namajunas said it was a great pressure off her shoulders
WINNER: Jessica Andrade by KO at 2:58 of Round 2