The Body Lock brings you live results and commentary regarding all of the action at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, New York.
The pay-per-view is headlined by an intriguing clash between known-mauler Khabib Nurmagomedov and the always-exciting Al Iaquinta. This matchup came together in just a few days notice after a wild week of unforeseen obstacles. The two will now compete for the UFC Lightweight Championship.
In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas will defend her UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship in a rematch with former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Al Iaquinta
It was almost entirely as expected. Al Iaquinta came out and tried to measure up Khabib Nurmagomedov with his lead left hand before attempting to land with his right. He didn’t follow through with the same bad intentions that we’ve seen in the past, though, partly due to fearing the inevitable takedown. Nurmagomedov eventually got the takedown and mauled Iaquinta for three minutes or so. Iaquinta did manage to scramble back to his feet once, but Nurmagomedov quickly took him back down to the mat again.
A different level.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has had success lunging in for an ankle from distance so far. He tries it once and Iaquinta marginally escapes before Nurmagomedov shoots back in underneath him again for another takedown. Khabib is truly on a different level and there might be no one else on that same level. Iaquinta gives up his back and now Khabib has flattened him out while trying to attack the neck. Iaquinta, like all before him, has no answer for Khabib’s overwhelming control.
You want to strike?
Iaquinta is trying to land his hands on Khabib, but his hands are just flailing around. At the moment, he hasn’t shown anything that might threaten Khabib while standing. Khabib’s now lighting Iaquinta up on the feet. Khabib shoots in for the ankle again but Iaquinta pushes at the head and limps his leg out. Nurmagomedov is now throwing out his jab repeatedly. It’s concerning that his jab comes back to his hip, though. The jab keeps landing flush on the nose and Iaquinta is now bloodied up badly.
Khabib is storming forward again but Iaquinta is still here. He’s answering back with shots every now and again, but Khabib keeps coming. More than anything, it’s been the jab for Khabib that is working. Nurmagomedov shoots in for another takedown and latches onto the ankle of Iaquinta, but he shrugs off the takedown again. Iaquinta rushes in and attempts (?) a single leg takedown and then follows up with punches when Khabib defends.
Khabib’s corner wants him to finish the fight in this last round. Surprisingly, this contest hasn’t hit the mat in the last two rounds. Khabib is still controlling the fight with his jab, but Iaquinta is getting closer and closer to landing with power. Joe Rogan calls Khabib’s performance in this round as “amateurish,” and refers to how he keeps his chin high in the air. Khabib gets the takedown and attempts a rear-naked choke, but Iaquinta escapes.
Khabib Nurmagomedov showcased his dominant grappling in the first two rounds but then decided to stand with Iaquinta through rounds three and four. He was comfortable in all regards, and continually slammed his jab into the face of Iaquinta on the feet.
Al Iaquinta looked okay at times when he opened up with combinations later in the fight, but he was majorly outclassed in all aspects of the fight.
Official Result: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-43, 50-43)
Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
No glove touch, of course. Joanna looks to be on her A-game, she’s moving really well. Namajunas is composed and had the bigger moments in round one. In particular, with about a minute left in the round, Namajunas marched forward and landing a series of heavy punches on Joanna. Some back-and-forth moments throughout, but it was mostly a lot of feinting as both fighters clearly respect each other inside the Octagon.
Winning the battles.
Before the fight, Joanna Jedrzejczyk said that Rose Namajunas won the battle but wouldn’t win the war. Now, Namajunas is winning all of the battles so far in this fight. Namajunas is getting the better of the former champion at range and whenever they tie-up. Rose landed flush with a hook at the end of a 1-2-3 combination and has now started to taunt Joanna. The former champion still looks loose and in the game, but Namajunas is winning the exchanges. In particular, whenever Joanna answers back with a counter shot, Namajunas has moved her head away from the center-line.
The tide is turning.
Namajunas and Jedrzejczyk touch gloves at the start of round three – very interesting. The round begins with Namajunas wobbling Joanna, but she is unable to offer up any continued attack. Namajunas’ leg is starting to accumulate damage now and it is clearly marked up by the leg kicks from the former champ. The champion is slowing down and Jedrzejczyk is starting to control the flow of the fight. Joanna is oozing with confidence at the end of round three, but it looks as if she is still behind one round.
Namajunas seems to be loosening up again, but Jedrzejczyk reminds her of the pain again with an immediate kick to the inside of her lead leg. Despite her diminished ability to move, Rose sticks Joanna with a clean 1-2 in the middle of the round. The leg kicks are taking their toll now and Namajunas is struggling. The leg kicks have made Namajunas more of a stationary target and Joanna is landing her strikes now. Namajunas is landing the more significant shots in this round, though. A close round.
Namajunas’ corner is calling for her to have fun in this final round and the two touch gloves again. This is the round that matters. We’ve got it scored 2-2 going into the fifth round. Namajunas is having more success at the start of this round than in the last two. The champion is moving forward and displaying tremendous heart; Rose wants to finish Joanna for good. Rose = (fire emoji). She connects with a brilliant uppercut. With 2:30 to go, it looks as if Rose is edging this fight. She loses some steam and Joanna starts to answer back. With one minute to go, both fighters are throwing everything they have. Namajunas finishes the round with a takedown (the first of the fight).
Rose Namajunas is just better, man. She won the exchanges. She won the battles. She won the war.
Namajunas moved her head off the center all night and made it difficult for Jedrzejczyk to tag her. Joanna had success with the leg kicks, but it was more of an accumulation of damage, rather than any of those leg kicks having any real fight-changing impact.
It was thought to be 2-2 heading into the final round, but the judges hadn’t seen it that way, anyway. Namajunas picked up the pace in the final round and finished strong. Her punches were more significant and she retains the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship.
Official Result: Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Renato Moicano vs. Calvin Kattar
It’s Calvin Kattar who strikes first. “The Boston Finisher” connects with a 1-2 straight down the middle. That’s about the last of his better moments in the first round, though, as Moicano starts to control the action with well-timed leg kicks and his jab. Kattar is seemingly struggling to find the right time to move forward and attempt his strikes because Moicano is a superb counter striker.
Take away the legs.
Moicano continues to work the legs of Kattar. The impact is severe and Kattar is noticeably struggling due to the impact of the leg kicks. In particular, Moicano is targetting the inside leg kick from an orthodox stance. Kattar is switching stances and Moicano now beats up the other leg. Moicano is measuring the distance with his hands and keeping Kattar from closing the distance.
Shoutout to the man himself, but Renato Moicano is absolutely destroying the legs of Calvin Kattar with kicks. His attacks are not telegraphed in any way and they are slamming the leg with so much power that it is lifting the leg of Kattar up and away. Kattar is frustrated, of course, because Moicano is strategically beating up the legs while avoiding any danger at close range. It’s been difficult for Kattar to engage with Moicano, considering his ability to counter strike and also the damage that he has done to the legs.
Renato Moicano found the road to victory early and continued to drive down that road without ever looking back. For Moicano, it was primarily the inside leg kick that was doing all the damage. Kattar wasn’t able to make an impact because Moicano had counter right hands to answer back whenever he marched forward. But yeah, the leg kicks.
Official Result: Renato Moicano def. Calvin Kattar via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Kyle Bochniak
Zabit Magomedosharipov is still flashy. Very, very flashy, in fact. He didn’t a chance to show it for a while, though, because Kyle Bochniak smartly crowded him early. Bochniak stormed toward the center of the Octagon and walked Magomedsharipov backward. For a while there, fans of Magomedsharipov (everyone) might have been nervous. Bochniak was attempting to land with overhand punches but fell marginally short. We started to get a taste of what’s to come from the Russian, and he began connecting with spectacular spinning kicks and all kinds of crazy sh*t.
Punching to Zabit.
Magomedsharipov’s second round had Joe Rogan almost speechless. His gorgeous trip takedown, effortless striking combinations, and distance management impressed many fans around the world. Zabit patiently waited for his opportunity to strike and Bochniak continued to march forward without fear. In fact, Bochniak stood in the middle of the Octagon and taunted Magomedsharipov, almost begging him to strike. Another convincing round for the Russian.
Human after all.
The final round began with Kyle Bochniak woo’ing and attempting to hype up the crowd. That wasn’t required, though, because these two battled it out for one of the very best rounds of 2018. Magomedsharipov showcased his signature abilities, yet again, but started to significantly fade late in the round. Bochniak realized that his opponent was fatiguing and picked up the pace. The two ended the round slugging it out against the cage and it was a subtle reminder that Zabit is actually human after all.
An absolutely brilliant fight and a front-runner for ‘Fight of the Night’ so far. Magomedsharipov landed his strikes at will, all while Bochniak had trouble connecting against his much-taller opponent. Zabit continued to dominate the contest until the final minute when he began to fatigue. Bochniak fired back and landed cleanly with many strikes, but was without the power required to finish the fight.
The Zabit Magomedsharipov hype-train continues and Joe Rogan called it a world-championship caliber performance.
Official Result: Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Kyle Bochniak via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Joe Lauzon vs. Chris Gruetzemacher
Lauzon rushes out and starts the fight with plenty of ferocity. He backs up Gruetzemacher and appears to be hunting a fast finish. After a period of battling on the canvas, including a leg lock attempt by Joe Lauzon, Gruetzemacher takes over the fight and starts punishing a fading Lauzon to the head and body.
Joe Lauzon was done and dusted early in the second round, but it took his corner until the end of the second round to call an end to the contest. While Gruetzemacher was controlling the contest with his combinations at range and inside the clinch, Lauzon would never go down and that made it a difficult fight to stop for referee Dan Miragliatta. By the end of the second round, Lauzon’s face was badly bruised and bloodied. Fortunately, his corner made the decision to stop the fight.
Lauzon raced out of the blocks, but it didn’t last long. It looked like Lauzon’s body was failing him and Gruetemacher continued to beat down his opponent for all five minutes in the second round.
Joe Rogan might have said it best: “I think that he has had a long career filled with fights like this, and I don’t know how many of these you can have.”
Official Result: Chris Gruetzemacher def. Joe Lauzon via TKO (corner stoppage). Round 2, 5:00
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Felice Herrig
The first round starts and Felice Herrig is completely comfortable standing inside the pocket with Karolina Kowalkiewicz and her dangerous striking. Herrig has some success slipping her head and answering back with punches of her own. She controls a lot of the first round but is unable to get Karolina to the mat after multiple takedown attempts. Kowalkiewicz finishes the round with an Iminari Roll and ends up with a near mounted-triangle choke submission at the end. Consensus opinion seems to be that Kowalkiewicz won the round, but I believe there is an argument for Herrig here considering her striking effectiveness early in the round.
Kowalkiewicz really stepped up the level of violence in this second round. While in the clinch, Kowalkiewicz repeatedly hammered elbows home. She continued to remain strong in the clinch and defended the takedown attempts of Herrig by using a strong overhook and exceptional technique.
Close, but no cigar.
Karolina was controlling the stand-up for the majority of the round with her boxing, but it all turned toward the end of the round. Herrig briefly stunned Kowalkiewicz but decided to step in and engage in the clinch, rather than punish her opponent from distance. The tie-up gave Karolina valuable time to recover and she made it through the round. A big moment for Herrig, but it might have been too late.
While Felice Herrig had some moments of dominance in the fight, particularly with her striking in the first round and stunning Karolina in the last round, it was Kowalkiewicz who won the ‘fight.’ Kowalkiewicz was superb at defending the takedowns from Herrig. Not only did she defend the takedowns, though, she answered back in the clinch with devastating elbows, particularly in the second round. Karolina really stepped it up in the final round, too, but that one Herrig strike brought the round back into balance.
Official Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Felice Herrig via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Evan Dunham vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Evan Dunham marched forward immediately and backed Olivier Aubin-Mercier up. However, OAM turned the fight around quickly and began to press the action. Aubin-Mercier connected with a strike to the body before finishing with a perfectly-placed knee to the sternum and Dunham fell to the canvas. It’s all over. That’s our first stoppage of the night.
Knees to the sternum hurt.
Official Result: Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Evan Dunham via TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:53
Bec Rawlings vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith
Controlling the pace.
Ashlee Evans-Smith marches forward and backs up Bec Rawlings with punches. Rawlings doesn’t offer anything in return for the first half of the round. In fact, it looks as though Evans-Smith has no respect for the striking of Rawlings and she can move freely about the Octagon. Rawlings eventually works back into the round, but it looks to be too late. Evans-Smith wins this round through lots of volume, but not much power.
The key to this round is Evans-Smith’s forward movement and volume, again. She lands clean with 1-2 punches down the middle often enough and even diversifies her attacks when possible as well. Rawlings did look comfortable here more so than the first round but was out-pointed by Evans-Smith, who again seems to lack power.
This was the time that Bec Rawlings needed to step up her game. In particular, she needed to either sit down with her punches and send something back in return to Evans-Smith who was marching forward freely, or move to an angle and stop the forward rush. She started to make some changes late in the round, but it’s nearly 15 minutes too late.
Overall, a ‘good’ performance from Ashlee Evans-Smith, who indeed looked to have found her home in the flyweight division after dropping from bantamweight. She pressed the action for three rounds but never really threatened Rawlings with anything potentially dangerous. For Rawlings, she seemed to believe she was winning the fight, but the reality was that she wasn’t even close.
Official Result: Ashlee Evans-Smith def. Bec Rawlings via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Devin Clark vs. Mike Rodriguez
A late steal.
Devin Clark starts to push the pace early. He rushes forward with a combination before clinching and pushing Rodriguez back to the cage. Rodriguez certainly looks dangerous when the two are separated; he lands flush with a devastating leg kick that takes away the legs of Clark. Clark smartly works back into the round, though, and secures a takedown after a flying knee attempt by Rodriguez to finish the round with ground and pound.
Rodriguez continued to have success landing his strikes while standing. In particular, he has been working the body during this round and seemingly hurt Clark badly. Clark is trying to implement his strategy but only has success in the latter part of the round after he shoots for a takedown.
The third and final round is almost entirely Devin Clark out-wrestling Rodriguez. Whether against the cage or on the mat, Clark controlled Rodriguez and kept him from utilizing his best asset – his power. A convincing third round and a brilliant way for Clark to finish the fight.
Devin Clark took away the striking prowess of Mike Rodriguez by smothering him with wrestling and work against the cage. While the takedowns didn’t always come, he was able to control the flow of the fight. Rodriguez packs plenty of power and certainly had some major moments in the first and second round, but wasn’t able to string these moments into something more consistent.
Official Result: Devin Clark def. Mike Rodriguez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27). #UFC223
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.