Nathan Maness surpasses Jimmy Flick

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Nathan Maness appears to be a growing problem for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s flyweight division.

In the best preliminary fight of UFC on ESPN 58 on Saturday, Maness (16-3) outworked Jimmy Flick (17-8) in a flyweight attraction that looked much closer than the final scores listed, or the almost 5 against 1. the odds were in favor of Maness. Maness used his huge frame for the split, working with his jab early on to keep dangerous submission artist Flick on the outside. Flick seemed more than willing to engage in a gripping battle, throwing big punches and trying to close the distance. Maness defended Flick’s first real takedown attempt with a standing guillotine choke attempt, managing to stay on his feet. Flick earned a takedown later in the round, taking advantage of another guillotine attempt to set up a Von Flue choke, but the round expired before the sequence could unfold. The second and third rounds followed a similar pattern, with Maness and Flick both willingly stepping into each other’s wheelhouse. Maness appeared to maintain a slight advantage throughout, a view shared by the judges, who saw the fight in his favor by 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. The win improved Maness’ UFC mark to 5-2 overall, 2-1 since moving up from bantamweight. Flick, despite his subjectively impressive performance, has fallen to 2-3 since joining the UFC during Season 4 of the Contender Series.

In a battle of flyweights looking for their first UFC victory, Gabriella Fernandes (9-3) spoiled the debut of Carli Judice (3-2). The fight took place almost entirely on the feet, playing out as a contest between Fernandes’ power and Judice’s reach and volume. While all three rounds were competitive individually, Judice seemed to settle into her rhythm as the fight progressed, while Fernandes seemed to tire. The Brazilian came out fresh and aggressive in rounds 2 and 3, only to slow down as Judice continued her steady stream of kicks and punches, peppered with solid body work. The judges had their work cut out for them and came back with a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). The win brought Fernandes’ Octagon total to 1-2, while two-time Contender Series veteran Judice fell to 0-1.

Westin Wilson pulled off a big upset in a possible do-or-die fight for his spot on the UFC roster and made it look easy. The lanky karate stylist faced “Road to UFC” veteran Jeka Saragih in a featherweight preliminary attraction and used the Indonesian’s aggression against him well, getting up after an early takedown, landing a takedown of his own and trapping immediately Saragih in a guillotine. After Saragih removed his head from the choke, Wilson applied an armbar.
When Saragih tried to get out of it, Wilson adjusted the angle and switched to a triangle armbar, causing the tap at just 1 minute, 49 seconds.
With this quick and impressive victory, Wilson (17-9, 1-2 UFC) bounced back from back-to-back knockout losses; Saragih (14-4) fell to 1-2 in the UFC.

Melquizael Costa scored a crucial victory, surviving an early storm from Nuerdanbieke Shayilan en route to a third-round submission victory in their featherweight clash. Costa (2-2) was put on his heels early by Shayilan’s aggression and forward movement, and “Wolverine” struck for several easy but emphatic takedowns in the first round and a half. Costa remained calm, however, and as the Chinese fighter began to tire, Costa took over. At the end of the second round, Costa was able to fend off Shayilan’s struggle and managed to corral the smaller man with a high kick in front of the horn. In the third round, Costa knocked Shayilan down after a tired takedown attempt, took his back and worked for a choke.
In the end, he didn’t even need to put his arm under his chin, as Shayilan tapped the crank at 1:50.
The win brought “Melk” to 2-1 in the featherweight division, while Shayilan (39-12) fell to 3-3 in the Octagon.

In the opening fight of the evening, Josefine Lindgren Knutsson maintained her impeccable professional record, even as Julia Polastri worked for it. Knutsson (8-0) got off to a strong start, using long punch and kick combinations to outrun the Brazilian and thwart her attempts to close the distance. However, Polastri finally came through late in the round, scoring a takedown and moving to mount in the final 30 seconds. That set the stage for the second round, Polastri’s best round, where she backed the Swede with big swings, took her down in the first half of the round and did some damage from top spot. Knutsson’s composure on the ground was tested, when she hit Polastri with an illegal kick, then threw another after the fight resumed that narrowly missed, but could have result in a points deduction if it had landed. The final round was the tightest of the three, with Polastri securing another takedown and threatening an arm-triangle choke, but Knutsson’s superior precision and foot volume were enough to win the round, and she won by unanimous scores of 29-28. Knutsson has now won two straight to begin her UFC run, while Polastri has fallen to 12-4 overall, 0-1 in the UFC.

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