NEW YORK — Benoit Saint Denis has been on a roll recently, but the French star took his game to an entirely different level on Saturday at UFC 295 with one of the greatest head kick knockouts in UFC history.
After Saint Denis and Frevola had been grappling, Frevola got up and circled away from Saint Denis,moving to his right. Saint Denis was on him, cut him off and threw a left high kick that instantly knocked Frevola out.
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) November 12, 2023
The time was 1:31 of the first round.
The win is his fifth consecutive and raised his record to 12-1. Most importantly, he established himself not only as a top-15 fighter, but as a threat to all the others in the division.
Saint Denis’ only loss came at UFC 267 on Oct. 30, 2021, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
He’s since reeled off five and a row and has evolved into a threat in every position.
Andrade snaps skid with 2nd-round TKO
Jessica Andrade entered her key strawweight battle with Mackenzie Dern having lost three consecutive bouts and having to fight frequently because she needed the money while going through a divorce.
It was Andrade’s fifth fight of the year, which began for her in January with a win over Lauren Murphy. But she was submitted by Erin Blanchfield and Tatiana Suarez and knocked out by Yan Xiaonan and on the verge of being irrelevant.
But Andrade was far too strong and far too sharp for Dern, who also is battling marital issues following her divorce.
Andrade wanted no parts of the ground with Dern, a noted black belt, and so she turned it into a kickboxing match.
Andrade was consistently landing clean shots on Dern and dropped her three times in a row in the second. After the third, referee Keith Peterson stepped in and ended it.
Dern simply had little to offer and Andrade appeared at the top of her game. It was a bad combination for Dern, who has now dropped two of her last three.
Diego Lopes brutalizes Pat Sabatini
Diego Lopes put on an incredible show in the brief time he was in the Octagon on Saturday, kicking off the main card of UFC 295 with a brutal finish of Pat Sabatini.
Fighting just after the crowd gave several loud, long and raucous ovations to former President Trump and with the crowd chanting, “USA! USA! USA!” when it began, Lopes showed the cool poise of a veteran and the talent of a potential star.
— UFC (@ufc) November 12, 2023
“I feel incredible to be here at Madison Square Garden and this is the fruit of all the work I did,” he said.
Lopes hurt Sabatini with a punch and flung him to the cage in the center of the Octagon. Sabatini got up, only to get clipped almost immediately by a Lopes’ right hand. Sabatini went down again and Lopes was all over him. He threw a series of right hands on the ground and the fight was stopped at 90 seconds of the first.
Viacheslav Borshchev, Nazim Sadykhov fight to wild draw
Someone once said a tie is like kissing your sister, but that person probably didn't watch the lightweight bout between Nazim Sadykhov and Viacheslav Borschev on the preliminary card of UFC 295. The two fought to a majority draw that had the crowd roaring with delight throughout.
It was a back-and-forth duel for three grueling rounds, but it was the final two minutes or so of the middle round that will leave people talking about this fight.
Both fighters had taken, and delivered plenty of punishment in an MMA bout that was up, down and all over the Octagon. Sadykhov caught Borschev with a left kick to the head that sent Borschev down with a thud. Sadykhov dove on top of him and was delivering vicious shots from the top, but Borschev managed to survive it.
The crowd roared at the top of its lungs when the round ended and Borschev, his face red from exertion and covered in blood, got up to walk to his corner. Unbelievably, Borschev took the third round.
Judge Bryan Miner scored the second 10-9 for Sadykhov, while Chris Lee and Derek Cleary each had it 10-8. That was the difference in the fight going for Borschev and instead being a draw.
Rebecki wins 15th in a row, submits Roberts with armbar in the first
It was difficult for both Mateusz Rebecki and Roosevelt Roberts to match the act they followed since they hit the Octagon immediately after the heart-stopping draw between Borschev and Sadykhov.
Rebecki, though, came out more than pleased with himself after submitting Roberts with a slick armbar at 3:08 of the first.
"I'm so happy because I just won in the world's most famous sports arena," said Rebecki, who won for the 15th time in a row and is looking like he'll be a serious player at 155 pounds.
Rebecki got Roberts' back, but Roberts was defending hard. Rebecki transitioned from the back to the armbar and Roberts verbally submitted.
Jared Gordon roars back to stop Mark Madsen
Jared Gordon wasn't doing much of anything other than eating hard uppercuts and knees from Mark O. Madsen in the first round of their lightweight bout. Madsen had Gordon in a collar tie and delivered three hard knees that left Gordon wincing.
But as the fight progressed, Gordon began to let his strikes go. He forced Madsen back against the cage with an uppercut. He then turned on the heat and then turned the pressure up. He caught Madsen with a vicious standing elbow and then a right hand that sent the three-time Olympic wrestler down hard.
Gordon wasted no time finishing him on the ground, and referee Marc Goddard stopped it at 4:42 of the first.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 12, 2023
Gordon snapped a 1-2 skid that also included a no-contest. He's now 20-6.
Jamall Emmers kicks off show with a bang
Jamall Emmers missed weight by a pound for his featherweight fight with Dennis Buzukja and that cost him 20 percent of his purse. But he went out and put on a show that got the crowd excited when he finished Buzukja in just 49 seconds.
Emmers landed a straight right hand down the pipe that dropped Buzukja onto his back. Emmers quickly followed him to the mat and after a few hammer fists, referee Keith Peterson dove in to stop it.
— UFC (@ufc) November 11, 2023
Emmers came in having lost his last bout and two of his last three, and was clearly relieved by his performance. It was arguably his best in the UFC.
"I just put that into my game recently, just having my feet set," Emmers said. "I'm controlling the distance, right, and that's what happened. That's the outcome."