Four bouts kicked off the televised broadcast for the UFC Fight Night 35. On this preliminary card eight fighters tried to establish a foothold in their respective divisions with a statement win early in the year.
Two lightweight bouts, a middleweight and a flyweight fight matched fighters who aren’t yet household names but who, on paper at least, seemed fit to fight each other.
These results will be posted live. The UFC Fight Night 35 online preliminary card begins at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Justin Edwards
Round 1: Nijem began the fight using crisp combinations as Edwards try to work his way inside. When Nijem landed, Edwards began to wing punches in at Nijem to make him step back. Nijem looked very confident coming in but left his hands down after he committed to the first strike of a combination. A spinning back kick missed by Nijem which prompted Edwards to attack. He landed a big punch and a flush knee which wobbled Nijem, but he couldn’t finish. Edwards attacked late in the round after another spinning back kick missed. Nijem was tripped to the mat and tried to lock up a knee bar while Edwards went for a heel hook just before the round ended.
Round 2: Edwards looked in a very early guillotine on Nijem and it seemed to mark the end of the fight. Patience and composure helped Nijem escape and he wound up on top. Nijem decided to bring it back to the feet after escaping another submission attempt by Edwards. Nijem landed a big knee on Edwards after an awkward trip attempt. Edwards was badly hurt and Nijem swarmed him with punches. He trip him again, this time landing in the mount. Edwards turned to give up his back and Nijem immediately worked to secure a choke. Edwards defended well and escaped the round.
Round 3: Edwards’ face was noticeably damaged in round three. Nijem countered a punch with a nice level change in to a takedown as he dumped Edward on to his back. Edwards got back up wit his now bloody eye adding to the damage from round 2. Nijem used lateral movement to never get caught off guard. This also forced Edwards to chase him which opened up counters for Nijem. Another guillotine attempt from Edwards gave Nijem the chance to get on top and despite a calf-slicer attempt from Edwards, it looked as though Nijem pulled away the decision.
Official Result: Ramsey Nijem defeats Justin Edwards via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Isaac Vallie-Flagg vs. Elias Silverio
Round 1: An aggressive start from Vallie-Flagg put Silverio on the defensive. Silverio used his reach to maintain distance between the two and landed the first takedown on a nice single leg. Vallie-Flagg got up quick but was dropped with a punch from Silverio. Silverio got on top and hit Vallie-Flagg with punches until he was able to take the back of Vallie-Flagg. Vallie-Flagg worked his way back up and seemed to use a lot of energy in doing so. Once on the feet, he was fully recovered and landed a few shots on Silverio. Silverio landed a few of his own, however, and finished the first round strong.
Round 2: Vallie-Flagg’s throw first, ask questions later attitude got him in to more trouble as he was tagged several times on the feet and then taken down easily by Silverio who was in undeniable control on top. An illegal knee broke up the action and caused a point deduction for Silverio. Vallie-Flagg took advantage of the pause and pounced on Silverio with flying knees and lunging shots. Silverio again avoided anything significant and dragged Vallie-Flagg down once more. Silverio held Vallie-Flagg down for a while with nothing too notable dictating the fight besides Silverio’s control. Vallie-Flagg stood back up with ten seconds left and the round ended on the feet.
Round 3: Vallie-Flagg had nothing left in the third round and Silverio got an early takedown without trying. Silverio peppered Vallie-Flagg who loosely defended the strikes that were mostly breaking through. Silverio held the position for the round and made the point deduction a non-issue. Silverio worked a rear-naked choke at the end of the round just to make a dominant round look a little more impressive. A clear round for Silverio.
Official Result: Elias Silverio defeats Isaac Vallie-Flagg via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Trevor Smith vs. Brian Houston
Round 1: Smith opened the fight with a leg kick that landed on Houston. Soon after, he shot in with a takedown attempt but was thrown off as soon as they hit the canvas. Houston answered with a takedown of his own as he slammed Smith with a nice lateral trip. Smith was able to get up and the fight was placed against the cage. After a long and predominantly uneventful stand up exchange, Smith dove in and tackled Houston. He instantly locked in an arm-triangle from the mount but Houston was given just enough room to break free, although Smith stayed on top to finish the round.
Round 2: A huge cut opened on the forehead of Smith in this round. Neither man really made a statement early on in this round. Smith’s first takedown attempt in this round was a clumsy affair as he chased Houston hill both men stumbled to get off their hands and knees. His second attempt was stuffed as well. Houston was now finding a bit of rhythm. Smith’s offense, besides his failed takedowns, was almost nonexistent although Houston showed little as well. A close round that came down to Smith’s fatigue and Houston’s lack of trying.
Round 3: The break between rounds did little for Smith who was clearly still tired. Houston began to utilize leg kicks which landed flush as Smith didn’t seem to have the energy required to time a check. Houston was a bit frozen in front of Smith although stuffing takedowns wasn’t a problem in the second. Little was done in the third and the round ended with a body kick from Smith on Houston, perhaps the most significant of the fight.
Official Result: Trevor Smith defeats Brian Houston via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Alptekin Ozkilic vs. Louis Smolka
Round 1: Ozkilic and Smolka wasted little time before throwing with all of their power. Neither landed cleanly but the implications were there. Ozkilic got the fight’s first takedown but Smolka got back up quickly while avoiding danger. Back on their feet, Smolken was rocked as Ozkilic tried to finish but to no avail. Smolka took being hurt as a challenge apparently and walked Ozkilic down as he tried to turn the tide. Smolka began to land cleanly and use his reach at the end of the first.
Round 2: Ozkilic won a short scramble on the ground but neither man wanted to stay down for long. Smolka was able to grab the muay thai clinch and land knees on Ozkilic. Ozkilic threw punches in the clinch and looked exhausted on the break. Smolka began to land at will as Ozkilic seemed almost out on his feet due to how tired he had become. Though his gas tank was empty, Ozkilic still got a takedown on Smolka who countered being brought down with a heel hook attempt.
Round 3: Both men were able to land early in this round. Ozkilic showed some resilience as he threw punches no matter how tired he got. He was countered easily though and Smolka landed everything he wanted to and was able to load up on his punches with little worry of a counter. One glaring hole in Smolka’s game was his takedown defense. He was repeatedly taken down, often from shots that were extremely telegraphed. Smolka had some ground success as he locked a hold of a d’arce choke but ended up using it to sweep to the mount of Ozkilic. Smolka tried to finish for the final 30 seconds of the fight as he punched Ozkilic from the mount. Ozkilic covered up and never went out but was battered by shots until the bell rang.
Official Result: Louis Smolka defeats Alptekin Ozkilic via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
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