Curtis Blaydes laid claim to his spot in heavyweight title picture with a shutout of Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
The American took the Russian down at will before landing the TKO stoppage two minutes into the second round, after a vicious elbow broke Abdurakhimov’s nose.
Ranked number four in the division, ‘Razor’, finds himself only beaten by fellow contender Francis Ngannou in the Octagon
In the main-card opener Diego Ferriera put on a show to defeat Russian Mairbek Taisumov by unanimous decision. The Brazilian faced some early adversity but was able to dictate the pace of rounds two and three with a barrage of accurate strikes for the biggest win of his UFC career.
Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood enhanced her flyweight prospects with a split decision win over America’s Andrea Lee. Jojo started an underdog but was able to get the better of a crucial third round to claim her third win in four and inch closer to the 125lbs title picture.
Zubaira Tukhugov and Lerone Murphy lit up the undercard with a 15-minute war in the featherweight division. Russian Tukhugov impressed with his suffocating wrestling style early on but Murphy’s conditioning saw him boss proceedings on the feet as the fight progressed. The judges couldn’t find a winner with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 28-28 resulting in a draw.
Sarah Moras had earlier made history by becoming the first female fighter to step into the Octagon on UAE soil. The Canadian had weighed in three pounds over the 135lbs bantamweight limit for her clash with Liana Jojua, and proved too strong and powerful for the Georgian stopping her by TKO in the third round.
“”It feels so good to be the first female to win a UFC fight in Abu Dhabi,” said ‘Cheesecake’ post-fight. “It’s amazing. It means the world to me and I hope it means the world to the people here. I hope more people can get into the sport and it opens their eyes.”
Elsewhere on the prelim card, there were wins for Ottman Azaitar, Belal Muhammad, Muslim Salikov, Omari Akhmedov, and Don Madge.
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