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Pettis delivers 'Showtime' performance plus Perry & Rountree impress

LEWIS vs NGANNOU

It was more staring contest than slugfest in a disappointing UFC 226 co-main event between heavyweight contenders Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou, but someone had to win at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and it was Lewis, who took the victory via unanimous decision.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 30-27 for the No. 5-ranked Lewis, now 20-5 with 1 NC. The No. 1-ranked Ngannou falls to 11-3.

There was little action in the opening minute as the two felt each other out, then it was Lewis firing the first significant shots of the bout as he delivered kicks from long range. There was nothing in the way of offense from Ngannou outside of a couple jabs, allowing Lewis to steal the first round.

The crowd got restless in the second round as the lack of fireworks continued. With 1:09 left in the frame, referee Herb Dean stopped the bout to tell the fighters to engage, and while there was a brief spurt of action, it didn’t last long and the fans let Ngannou and Lewis know it.

Lewis opened the final round with kicks to the leg, none of which enticed Ngannou into an exchange. With a minute left, Ngannou threw a head kick with bad intentions but missed badly, and 30 seconds later, there was finally a serious exchange, with Lewis landing a couple hard knees, but again, that was it for a forgettable bout that mercifully ended after 15 minutes.


PERRY vs FELDER

Paul Felder’s one night move to welterweight from lightweight didn’t result in a victory, as Mike Perry won a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision, but there was no questioning the heart of “The Irish Dragon,” who fought through an arm injury and a cut over his eye to still go 15 hard minutes with “Platinum.”

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Perry, now 12-3. Felder, who replaced the injured Yancy Medeiros on short notice, falls to 15-4.

A clash of heads bloodied both men as the fight began, and soon after, the two locked up and battled it out at close range against the fence. Ninety seconds in, the two separated and Felder proceeded to land a hard right hand to the head that was answered by a Perry elbow moments later. And while both fighters continued to get their shots in, Felder was the busier of the two down the stretch.

Perry scored with a takedown in the opening minute of round two, and while Felder didn’t stay grounded long, it was a good scoring move for the Floridian. Once standing, though, Felder continued to mix things up well with his striking. With a little over a minute left, Perry opened a nasty cut over the right eye of Felder with a flush left hook, prompting a visit from the Octagonside physician. After Felder was cleared to continue, Perry got another takedown, and after the two rose, they traded elbows, Perry leaving with a cut on his nose.

Confirming to his corner that his right arm was broken, Felder still came out for round three and battled at close quarters with Perry, scoring well with a variety of strikes. Perry responded with effective grappling against the fence before trading with Felder in the closing moments of the bout.


PETTIS vs CHIESA

Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis delivered his best performance in years, submitting Michael Chiesa in the second round.

Chiesa needed less than 20 seconds to take Pettis to the mat, but Pettis defended well on the ground and got back to his feet. Midway through the round, Chiesa grounded his opponent once more, and again, the Milwaukee native rose without taking any significant damage. Once standing, Pettis targeted Chiesa’s legs with his kicks, finishing strong.

Pettis kept the momentum going in round two, staggering Chiesa with a right hand, and while guillotine and triangle chokes didn’t hit the mark, a triangle armbar did, with Chiesa tapping out at :52 of the second stanza.

With the win, the No. 12-ranked Pettis moves to 21-7. The No. 9-ranked Chiesa, who came in overweight for the bout at 157.5 pounds, falls to 14-4.


ROUNTREE JR vs SAKI

Khalil Rountree Jr. stunned kickboxing superstar Gokhan Saki in the main card opener, winning their light heavyweight bout via first-round knockout.

Rountree fought confidently from the start, standing in the pocket with the feared striker, and he delivered on that confidence with a left hand down the middle that dropped Saki hard. A series of hammerfists followed, prompting referee Jason Herzog to stop the bout at 1:36 of the opening round.

With the win, Las Vegas’ Rountree improves to 8-2 with 1 NC. Kars, Turkey’s Saki falls to 1-2.

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