Read on for UFC Fight Night early prelim results...
OLIVEIRA vs MOONTASRI
Rio de Janeiro’s Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira got back in the win column in a big way at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, as he delivered a shutout decision win over James Moontasri in their welterweight bout.
Scores were 30-26 twice and 30-25.
The early part of the first round was fought in the clinch against the fence, broken only by an inadvertent low knee that sent Moontasri to the canvas in pain. Two Octagonside physicians tended to Moontasri, who took a break before the fight resumed. After a brief standup period, Oliveira locked his foe up once more.
The clinch work continued in the second round, Oliveira in control. The Brazilian got a takedown this time, and he kept the pressure on as the two grappled on the mat. Soon, Oliveira upped his work rate with hard ground strikes, securing a dominant round.
The two welterweights exchanged punches as round three began, both landing before Oliveira put the fight on the mat again and kept it there until the final horn.
With the win, Oliveira moves to 14-3-1 with 1 NC; Los Angeles’ Moontasri falls to 9-4.
More from Fight Night Chicago: Final results | Postfight bonus recap | Talking Points after Chicago | Shevchenko stuns Holm | Barboza, Ngannou, Herrig claim big wins | Wineland returns to Octagon with TKO win | Oliveira, Knight, Henrique claim victories | Backstage interviews: Valentina Shevchenko, Edson Barboza, Francis Ngannou, Felice Herrig, Eddie Wineland | Octagon interviews: Shevchenko and Holm, Edson Barboza | Watch the UFC FIGHT PASS prelims on-demand | Best images from Fight Night
KNIGHT vs. ALERS
In a matchup of featherweight prospects, Mississippi’s Jason Knight outlasted Jim Alers, winning an impressive three-round split decision.
A fired up Knight walked Alers down from the start, using a stiff jab and hard kicks to set up his forward motion. Alers got in a few counters that opened up a cut under his foe’s right eye, and with 90 seconds left, he got a takedown. Knight jumped up quickly and went right back to his striking attack before answering with his own takedown in the final minute.
Knight (17-2) continued battering Alers with his punches and kicks, talking to him at the same time. Alers finally broke his momentum with a takedown in the final minute, but it was Knight doing all the work off his back.
Alers (13-3, 1 NC) came out blasting in round three, rocking Knight before getting the fight back to the mat. Knight weathered the storm and got back to his feet. With two minutes left, Alers hit another takedown and had a last chance to turn things around. He wasn’t able to, but a right to the jaw when the two stood almost did the job. Knight took it well though, the fight going to the scorecards, where Knight got the nod by scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29.
HENRIQUE vs. SMOLIAKOV
Brazilian heavyweight prospect Luis Henrique took Octagon newcomer Dmitrii Smoliakov into deep water in the opener and then finished him, scoring a second-round submission win.
Taking Smoliakov further than he had ever been in a fight, Henrique fought on fairly even terms with the Russian early on, but he landed the harder blows, and late in the frame he scored with a slam and some thudding ground strikes, cutting his foe in the process.
In round two, Henrique kept the heat on his exhausted foe, and once he had him on the mat, hammerfists opened up the rear naked choke that produced the tap out at 3:58 of round two.
With the win, Henrique moves to 9-2 with 1 NC; Smoliakov falls to 8-1.