GLENDALE, Ariz. — Unbeaten Russian Movsar Evloev used a string of takedowns to defeat Calgary featherweight (Mean) Hakeem Dawodu on the undercard of UFC 263 Saturday night.
While Evloev dominated the first two rounds, Dawodu rallied in the third with some punishing strikes. But it was too little too late for the Canadian, who saw his five-fight UFC win streak snapped.
All three judges scored it 29-27 for Evloev, awarding the Russian a 10-8 edge in the second round.
Evloev (15-0-0) is ranked No. 14 among 145-pound contenders while Dawodu is No. 15. But Dawodu (12-2-0) had no answers for Evloev's takedowns. And he suffered when the fight went to the ground.
Evloev, a former M-1 bantamweight champion, won his fifth straight in the UFC.
"He is a good fighter. Five-fight win streak, a good Muay Thai striker, throws very hard punches, very hard kicks," Evloev said. "I was ready for this … We trained a lot for three months."
The main event of the pay-per-view card at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz., saw Israel (The Last Stylebender) Adesanya defend his middleweight title against No. 3 Marvin (The Italian Dream) Vettori. In the co-main event, flyweight title-holder Deiveson Figueiredo faced No. 1 contender Brandon (The Assassin Baby) Moreno.
Also on the undercard, Swedish bantamweight Pannie (Banzai) Kianzad won her fourth straight with a unanimous (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) decision over veteran Canadian Alexis Davis in a back-and-forth bout.
Evloev held a slim 42-39 edge in significant strikes, according to UFC Stats. But he landed nine of 13 takedown attempts, controlling the Canadian on the ground.
Both fighters scored with some early strikes. The Russian connected with a big overhand right early while Dawodu managed to mark up Evloev's left eye.
Executing a trip, Evloev got Dawodu to the ground but only briefly. Dawodu got back to his feet, only to be slammed back down seconds later as Evloev stuck to his back like a limpet.
Evloev took back mount, looking for a choke while mixing in strikes. Dawodu eventually got back to his feet before the round ended but took his lumps.
Evloev scored an early takedown in the second round. Dawodu got up, only to go down again. Evloev, with his legs wrapped around Dawodu, looked to do damage and sink in a submission.
Dawodu managed to stay on his feet for most of the third, connecting with strikes. Evloev wobbled after one exchange, waving to the crowd afterwards as if the damage had been minimal. But Dawodu promptly wobbled him again with a blow.
Evloev responded with yet another takedown to survive Dawodu's rally. Dawodu had a 31-17 edge in significant strikes in the third.
Kianzad (15-5-0) had success with her striking early on against Davis, whose face soon showed damage. Davis kept coming forward, absorbing blows to deliver shots of her own.
Davis (20-11-0) came on in the second round, getting Kianzad's attention with some hard leg kicks and knees. Kianzad went down as the round ended. Both fighters looked the worse for wear.
Davis' corner told their fighter to take Kianzad down in the third round and "be violent." But the fight remained on the feet with Davis circling Kianzad. Both scored with punches.
"She kicks pretty hard," Kianzad said after the fight. "I hit her with a couple of right hands, I thought that was it, but no, it was not it. She was really tough, but I felt sharp."
Davis has lost four of her last five fights and is 7-6-0 in the UFC.
The 36-year-old Davis, a native of Port Colborne, Ont. who now makes her home in San Jose, was coming off a dominant decision win over Sabina (Colombian Queen) Mazo in February, following a 19-month layoff due to shoulder surgery.
The Canadian had her first pro fight in 2007, competing in Strikeforce and Invicta FC before moving to the UFC in 2013. She fought for the bantamweight at UFC 175 in July 2014, losing by KO to (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey in 16 seconds.
Kianzad, a 29-year-old born in Iran, is ranked 11th among UFC bantamweights. She lost her first two UFC outings.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2021