Luque, Holtzman Among Highlights Of UFC 229 Prelims


Brazilian flyweight contender Jussier Formiga picked up an important victory in UFC 229 prelim action, outpointing Sergio Pettis at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Scores were 30-26, and 29-28 twice.

Pettis had his moments on the feet in the first two rounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the takedowns and ground control of Formiga. The Milwaukee native got more aggressive in the final frame, but Formiga took his back while the two scrambled, and even though the two were standing, the Brazilian calmly worked to get the choke. And while he didn’t get it, it was another round for Formiga, who has now won three straight.

The No. 5-ranked Formiga moves to 22-5 with the win. The No. 2-ranked Pettis falls to 17-4.


Rising welterweight star Vicente Luque made it seven finishes in seven UFC wins, as he knocked out late-notice newcomer Jalin Turner in the first round.

Turner, fighting a division up from his usual spot at lightweight due to the short-notice nature of the bout, showed no signs of the first-time Octagon jitters in the early going. In fact, as the round progressed, he got so comfortable that he threw a spinning back elbow that Luque walked through, leaving the Californian open for a series of right hands that put Turner on the deck. From there, Luque kept throwing bombs until Turner was out, ending the bout in emphatic fashion. The time of Dan Miragliotta’s stoppage was 3:52 of round one.

Brasilia’s Luque moves to 14-6-1 with the win. Turner falls to 7-4.


No. 9-ranked women’s bantamweight contender Aspen Ladd made a major statement in her bout with Tonya Evinger, stopping the former Invicta FC champion in the first round.

Evinger (19-7, 1 NC) closed the distance on Ladd (7-0) quickly, but after a brief spell against the fence, a visit to the canvas saw Ladd landing in a dominant position, and once in that advantageous spot, she didn’t surrender it, as she put the pressure on Evinger and halted her with a series of unanswered strikes. The official time of referee Chris Tognoni’s stoppage was 3:26 of the first round.


In his seventh UFC bout, Scott Holtzman came up with his most impressive performance to date, stopping Alan Patrick in the third round of their lightweight bout.

Holtzman got off to a good start in the opening round, with his striking and ground-and-pound attack putting the first frame in the bank, even though Patrick was able to get in some shots and bloody his foe. “Hot Sauce” continued to control the fight in round two, and in the second minute of round three, he put Patrick on the deck with a hard right hand. It looked like the end was near, but the Brazilian was able to weather the storm until a series of thudding elbows put an end to the bout, with referee Jason Herzog stepping in at 3:42 of the final frame.

With the win, Holtzman moves to 12-2. Patrick falls to 15-2.

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Russia’s Yana Kunitskaya earned her first UFC victory in her return to the bantamweight division, delivering a shutout unanimous decision over Sweden’s Lina Lansberg.

Fighting a disciplined and intelligent bout from start to finish, Kunitskaya used her striking to set up takedowns and clinch work that kept Lansberg from ever getting into an offensive rhythm, making it no surprise when the former Invicta FC champion was awarded the decision via identical scores of 30-27.

With the win, Kunitskaya improves to 11-4 with 1 NC. The No. 12-ranked Lansberg falls to 8-4.


Veteran standout Nik Lentz spoiled the lightweight return of two-time title challenger Gray Maynard as he scored a second-round stoppage victory.

Lentz (31-9-2, 1 NC) was in control from the start, rocking the former contender and following up with punishing shots in the clinch. Maynard fought loose, but Lentz drilled him with another right hand before locking in a guillotine choke. Maynard was able to escape again, but the punishing attack from Lentz continued until the horn.

Maynard (14-8-1, 1 NC) briefly staggered Lentz early in round two, but as soon as he moved in, Lentz hurt him once more. This time, a kick to the head dropped Maynard, with a follow-up shot bringing in referee Dan Miragliotta to halt the fight at 1:19 of the second stanza.


Tony Martin made it two in a row at 170 pounds in the opener, as he scored an impressive third-round stoppage of Ryan LaFlare.

The first round was tough to score, with LaFlare doing solid work with kicks to the body as Martin scored with several right hands upstairs. In the first minute of the second, though, Martin pulled ahead when he put LaFlare on the deck and then landed a couple hard ground strikes that bloodied the New Yorker. LaFlare was able to clear his head and stay out of serious trouble, but Martin kept pressuring him as he added more points to his tally. With a little over a minute left, LaFlare got to his feet, but he was unable to even the score before the horn sounded, and in the third, Martin ended matters, with a right kick to the head dropping LaFlare hard. Follow-up strikes brought in referee Chris Tognoni to stop the fight. The official time was 1:00 of the third round.

With the win, Martin improves to 14-4. LaFlare falls to 14-3.
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