Clutch City was treated to an incredible night of fights by the UFC on Saturday evening. A card topped with two title fights with two dominant champions looking to continue their legacy, fight fans packed the Toyota Center as Texas fans always pack an arena for fights.
The Light Heavyweight king Jon Jones exuded his ever-confident swagger all fight week as he prepared to stand across the cage from the equally confident and undefeated challenger in Dominick Reyes. While pundits and fans are calling for a move to heavyweight for Jones, who has said he would shoot straight for the Champion Stipe Miocic if and when he does move up, he has not overlooked the man immediately in his path. Reyes entered the UFC in 2017 and after just six fights, found himself sharing the cage with perhaps the greatest fighter of all time.
The two wasted little time getting into the action as Reyes came out quickly with strikes and kept the pressure high. Utilizing low kicks and crisp boxing, the challenger had strong moments early in the first round. Jones did his best to stay composed and stifle the offense, but the round definitely belonged to Reyes.
Reyes started the second round the same way, chasing Jones around the cage with a flurry of strikes, but virtually none of the attempts landed as Jones displayed incredible head movement. The Champion began to take the center of the cage, stalking Reyes and landing a few kicks and punches using various techniques to keep him guessing. As the round closed, Jones maintained his pressure to get the judges’ favor.
The third round started off with the same intensity as both men traded hard strikes, sending sweat flying. The first takedown attempt of the fight would come from Jones with a couple of minutes left, but Reyes was able to stay on his feet. The crowd began trading chants for both men in what was the closest round of the fight.
Reyes once again came out with high pressure, forcing Jones to shoot in for a takedown early in the fourth round. Jones got him to the mat for a brief moment, but Reyes was able to scramble back to his feet. A few moments later, Jones would attempt another takedown that was defended well by the challenger. Reyes stayed on the outside looking to counter, and was successful more often than not, albeit Jones landed a few hard strikes of his own.
Jones started the fifth with a quick takedown attempt, and was close to taking Reyes’ back. However, at this point, the sweat from both allowed Reyes to get back to his feet. Jones maintained the center of the cage while Reyes once again looked to counter strike. Fans rose to their feet in the final thirty seconds, although neither fighter was able to land anything significant. The final horn sounded and both men raised their hands in celebration.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Jones, which received a mixed reaction from the crowd in attendance. Jones secures the most championship wins in UFC history.
The co-main event of the evening pitted the dominant UFC Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko against an eager challenger Katlyn Chookagian. Shevchenko has had a stranglehold on the women’s flyweight division since its inception, winning the vacant title by defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk and then turning away Jessica Eye and Liz Carmouche. After a successful 2019 campaign with two wins, Chookagian found her 2020 starting off with an opportunity to become the second champion of the flyweight division.
The fight started with a relatively slow pace as the Toyota Center began chanting the Champion’s name. With just over a minute left in the first round, Shevchenko would secure a takedown and proceed to land a hard elbow from the top. Chookagian returned to her corner with a nasty cut over her left eye from an elbow by Shevchenko, putting the cut man to work early.
The second round felt the same as the first, with the two trading intermittent strikes, with Shevchenko securing another takedown.
Early in the third round, Shevchenko secured yet another takedown, however this time she worked quickly to transition to a more dominant position. She found herself in the hard-to-get mounted crucifix and began raining down elbows until the referee pulled her off. Another dominant performance by the Flyweight Champion who delighted the Houston fans.
Kicking off the main card was Houston’s own fan-favorite fighter Derrick Lewis. The heavyweight knock out artist would face a newcomer to the heavyweight division in Ilir Latifi in a showdown that was sure to start the card with a bang. However, the fight left everyone wanting more as it played out due to the heavy amount of clinching and lack of action in the ground when Latifi put Lewis on his back. Lewis would try his best to land a knock out shot when the fight was on the feet, but it would never come. He would ultimately walk away the winner by way of unanimous decision.
- Jon Jones def Dominick Reyes via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
- Valentina Shevchenko def Katlyn Chookagian via TKO - Elbows, Round 3 (1:03)
- Dan Ige def Mirsad Bektic via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Derrick Lewis def Ilir Latifi via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Trevin Giles def. James Krause via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Lauren Murphy def Andrea Lee via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Khaos Williams def Alex Morono via KO - Punches, Round 1 (0:27)
- Mario Bautista def Miles Johns via TKO - Flying Knee, Round 2 (1:41)
- Journey Newson def Domingo Pilarte via TKO - Round 1, 0:38
- Andre Ewell def Jonathan Martinez via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
- Youssef Zalal def. Austin Lingo via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)